Self-Discipline is One Tough Cookie

by | Aug 17, 2016 | Habits, Leadership, Self-Discipline

Joey Havens

Recently, I was checking into the DoubleTree Downtown in Austin, TX around 9 p.m. after a long day of travel.  Now, my self-discipline is always weak between 9 and 10 p.m. when I love to start snacking. This urge to snack is tripled when I am traveling. I start rationalizing that “I deserve this” and I must say it works 99% of the time. I am really good at convincing myself how much I deserve what I don’t need.

So when the courteous DoubleTree agent handed me my warm chocolate chip cookie, I was excited. I immediately began justifying why I needed this cookie to complete my night. I deserved it, right? Now this blog is especially relevant since I am completely upset at myself—although I set a goal of getting my weight back to 199, I have gained from 204 to 208. It was a nice plan but too many “I deserve it” nights crept in! So here we are again, in a situation where I was saying, “This one cookie won’t hurt.” As I walked to the elevator—my taste buds were already watering—the aroma of that warm cookie was filling my nostrils and I could feel my stomach begin to beg.  Does your stomach do that?

I began thinking to myself, “Well, I’m only going to eat half of this warm chocolate cookie.” Now, I must confess, I have never had a warm chocolate chip cookie and been able to eat only half of it. And while I am being so transparent, I have been known to go back down to the desk and requested another one and please don’t have any cold milk because that can lead to a third. Seriously!   

So here I was in this fierce battle with self-discipline and it was obvious that I was going to lose again. As I stepped onto the elevator, a young man, maybe 9 or 10, ran onto the elevator with me. I felt myself instinctively grip my cookie even tighter and shifted it to my other hand so it would not be in plain sight.  After we selected our floors, I returned to my internal dialogue where I promised myself I would only eat half the cookie and then throw the rest away. It was a great plan! But, as I began to step off of the elevator, a moment of insanity hit me.  I looked at the young man and asked him if he could do me a favor. He said, “Yes, sir.” “Will you take this wonderful, warm cookie and enjoy it tonight?” “YES, SIR!” he replied as a huge smile sprang across his face. 

After realizing what I had just done (and considering snatching my cookie and running off the elevator), I did the only reasonable thing in that situation—I handed him my prized cookie, jumped off the elevator and did not allow myself to look back. I did manage a very weak “thanks.” 

I’m not going to say I didn’t miss that cookie. I’m not going to lie and say I did it just for the kid. And I did dream about slowly eating that warm chocolate chip cookie—my stomach was so mad at me. But after the initial shock wore off, I began to feel great about my decision and being more disciplined.

We always feel better when we have the uncommon discipline to stick to our plan, to make the sacrifice or investment to make us better. Sometimes, we need a little help. But help is always there if we just look for it and allow ourselves to be helpable. In fact, I’m reaching out to you in this blog in the belief it keeps me accountable and helps strengthen my resolve to make that 199 number. Thanks for your support!

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