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No one is a fan of deprivation—least of all us! Freedom is our favorite word, after all. But one thing we’ve learned over the years is that unchecked consumption is its own type of prison, and it can deplete our resources so much that everything else in life is restricted.
That is the opposite of the kind of life we want to live. Don’t you agree?
When we’ve let something get out of hand in our lives, an experiment in deprivation is the only road back to the freedom we love so much. Today we’re going to show you how we do it, how you can do it, and then offer you a free download to help you choose your next experiment in deprivation and make it a success.
Before we start, though, we’d like to invite you to become part of the podcast team! Interested in commenting on the show schedule, offering up new topics, or spreading the word? Find out how to become part of the team by clicking here.
Ready? Let’s go.
How to Use Deprivation to Regain Your Freedom
First, a little goes a long way. Try to change everything at once, or totally upend your life, and you’re more likely to fail. The key is to pick one overindulgence, smack it on the ass, and then make it play nice again in your life. The experiment is swift and powerful, and soon you’re back to enjoying a life you love.
Some of the most common indulgences are well-known to you (and to all of us — you are certainly not alone in these struggles).
You know when you’ve gone overboard with one of these:
- You can’t imagine what you’d do in place of it.
- You schedule your life around it.
- You spend way more time on it than you know is healthy.
- It impacts your relationships with other people.
- It disrupts other parts of your life (your schedule, finances, sleep, energy, work).
Guidelines for a Successful Deprivation Experiment
We have done countless of these experiments over the past 10 years. In the beginning, we weren’t so focused and our attempts weren’t so successful. We felt like failures and addicts that we couldn’t go a week without sugar or avoid the television for a few nights. It wasn’t until we developed this system that we finally harnessed the power of an experiment in deprivation.
- Know Your WHY. What is the compelling reason to do this experiment? This is how you’ll stay motivated.
- Be Specific. What are you giving up? What is allowed? State this up front so it is clear.
- Tell Others. If your family or friends need to accommodate you, let them know. If you need extra support, gather it at the start.
- Define Positive Alternatives. What will you do when the urge strikes? (Because it will!)
- Time-Box It. Make sure you have a deadline. “Trying” for an indefinite time period is not an experiment. “Doing it” for a set period of time is.
- Plan Your Exit. If the plan is to add the action back into your life in some way, think about how you’ll do that ahead of time so you don’t binge the first day back.
We’ve used this system for everything from testing a car-less lifestyle to reducing our meat consumption to recovering from a period of “over-celebration” with friends, to moderating our sugar intake, to regaining control of our spending.
When you figure out how well this system works, you’ll find yourself using it in small periods throughout the year to maintain control of your life and enjoy the most freedom possible.
Because unchecked consumption is not the same thing as freedom. A life without limits means you’re ruled by your impulses. It may seem good for a while, but even a decadent prison is still a prison.
Get the resource guide for this episode in the Resource Roundup—a collection of our best guides to help you gain more time, space, energy, and money asap!
- Unchecked consumption is not freedom. If you can’t control you’re impulses, you’re not in charge of your life.
- Small, focused experiments in deprivation are a powerful way to regain control of an overindulged habit.
- Know your WHY before you deprive yourself. A reason will keep you motivated more than a “should” or any type of shaming by you or anyone else. (Just say no to shaming.)
- Be specific in your experiment. What is allowed? What is not? Are there any exceptions?
- Tell other people so you have their support, but do not try to force them into the plan with you. This is about YOU, not them.
- Define positive alternatives so you can be successful. What will you do in place of this activity when the urge strikes?
- Time-box it. If you don’t have a deadline, how will you know you’ve been successful?
- Know what you’ll do at the end. Are you going to gradually add it back into your life? Modify it somewhat? Continue without it? If you don’t have a plan, you’ll dive face-first into a pie at the end of your fast, totally defeating the purpose!
Join us for an information-packed show on how to evaluate the successes and lessons of the previous year before diving into the new one. We’re sharing our specific annual process that allows us to accomplish more personal and professional goals than the average person. And you’ll learn it all next Sunday.
But be sure to tune in Wednesday when we share a special BONUS episode for those of you overwhelmed by the holidays. Guest Michelle Steinke-Baumgard of One Fit Widow joins us to talk about An Uncluttered Christmas. (Look for more bonus episodes throughout the year.)