Success may not be all hard work!

Some research recently published on PLOS ONE suggested that, in mice at least, taking a regular break from a calorie-restricted diet led to greater weight loss than fulltime diet compliance managed to achieve.  We’re not mice, of course, and it’s early days in the progress of this research, but the findings have made me wonder about mini holidays from other things.

We all know how good a proper holiday––an extended, formal break from work––is for us, but what if we were to think of the smaller breaks from our self-imposed regimens we might benefit from?

I’m not suggesting taking a holiday from things such as being polite, biting our tongue when we’re annoyed, and other similarly socially-useful forms of self-discipline––but how about mini holidays from some of the more “self-improving” forms of self-discipline?  Perhaps you don’t have to make your bed every day, or avoid chocolate all the time, or stick to your exercise regime all week every week?

I like to think the mice could teach us something––maybe we will be more successful, healthy and organised if we let ourselves off the hook from time to time.  Constant self-discipline may have been over-rated.  Deliberately breaking our “diets” on this front may not only make us feel better, but help us to be better––freeing up energy to live the focussed and intentional lives we choose for ourselves.  I am going to add self-discipline to the list of things that are far more effective in moderation …