I don’t know if it’s the cold, gray weather outside, the fact that it’s dark before I finish work for the day, or a combination of a million other factors, but I have had very little desire to leave my house this month. When 6:00 pm rolls around, I want to put on a pair of slippers and be a home-body. Forget my friends, I can see them in February … or March … or this summer when I won’t need a coat, boots, and mittens to brave the outdoors.
Monday night, however, I forced myself to go out into the world and see Gretchen Rubin talk about her book The Happiness Project at the Borders in the Friendship Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. I’m glad that I went — I got to see Aviva Goldfarb who is the awesome brain behind The Six O’Clock Scramble, as well as a few Unclutterer fans — and Gretchen’s presentation gave terrific insights into her book.
One of the topics Gretchen discussed was how during her year working on her happiness project, she discovered that she is better at abstaining from an undesirable behavior than she is at moderating it. She says that there are two types of people — abstainers and moderators. Abstainers can easily quit something cold turkey. Moderators can easily reduce the number of times they do something.
I used to be an abstainer, but now I’m a moderator. When I quit smoking in my 20s, I decided one day to do it. I didn’t even smoke a “last cigarette.” I just walked away from it and didn’t think about cigarettes again. Now, if I try to abstain completely from something, my thoughts become obsessed with it. Instead, I am more successful and happy if I impose rules for moderation (for example, my resolution to eat at restaurants twice a week or less).
Which one are you? Are you an abstainer or a moderator?
Knowing which camp you are in can help a great deal with living an uncluttered life. Is there a behavior that is cluttering up your life? To resolve the issue, would you do best by ending it completely or setting moderate limitations?