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Monday, July 07, 2014

Willpower vs. Habit

Recently, I've given up Dunkin' Donuts.  That's right: 13 days and nary an iced mocha latte has passed these lips. 

Feel free to be impressed.

Long time readers know that I've tried to give up DD before, but I have never lasted against the delicious draw of an iced mocha latte, and drinking these icy treats has been a daily habit for years.  And, habits are hard to break.

Especially tasty ones.

I don't put much stock in the power of "willpower," and I even find the word to be somewhat vomit-inducing.  Like the word "moist."  Yuck.  Who likes to hear about someone's "willpower"?  I sure as hell don't.  Because my willpower is about as stout as Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in a Category 5 hurricane: My resolve will disintegrate at the slightest provocation. 

Additionally, I'm like Matt at The Oatmeal:

Many runners, and other exercise enthusiasts, are also dedicated to making their lives all-around healthy.  Trust me, I do my best to choke down salads for lunch and munch on apples for snacks, but it's not my natural inclination.  I'd prefer to gobble up a bag of chips and wash it down with a giant slab of cheese.  And, I'll be honest: I find those who evangelize about their food (whatever their diet of choice is) tiresome. 

Yet, I know small choices can snowball into significant benefits or detriments, and bottom line: I don't need the iced latte (although...do you think it's lonely without me?), its extra calories, sugar content, or cost.


That's tough to say with any grain of believability, because for the past few years I HAVE needed that little daily treat.  It's my "reward." 

Reward for getting up, for getting out of the house with two kids, for running every day, for cleaning the house, grocery shopping, mowing the lawn, for keeping small people and a dog alive, for cooking dinner, for making appointments, for planning birthday parties and vacations, for teaching and grading papers, for filing taxes, and managing retirement accounts, and calling the insurance company even though I know I'll be on hold for 18 days, and for simply getting to the end of the day with my sanity intact.  For WINNING at doing all the grown up stuff, I've felt I've deserved such a small reward.

And I do deserve it. 

But, not every day.  Once a week or once a month, such a treat truly is deserved and is special, but giving myself such a treat everyday is neither.  So, I'm not saying I'll never drink a small, iced mocha latte again -- because I will and it will be awesome -- but first I feel like I have to dump the habit so that I can control it and not let it control me.

So, I suppose it has taken some initial willpower in this endeavor, but in the end, it's the strength of habit that I'm relying upon to eventually autopilot me past those alluring orange and pink awnings that brightly adorn Dunkin. 

Sorry, DD, it's not you; it's me.


Unknown said...

Have you ever tried to wean yourself off the flavor/syrup and just go for an iced or regular latte? I did that over the course of a summer, when I caught myself drinking my daily calories via DD's iced vanilla lattes. It was an acquired taste, and like you, I do not allow myself one every day, but when I do indulge, I rest easy knowing the drink is not full of sugar.

Carly said...

We are finally getting them here in MN and I keep hearing about how the coffee is the bomb!

Elizabeth said...

Have you tried their new Cookie Dough flavor?! Sounds kinda ehhh, but....NOM!!!!! If you go after 3pm any size is only $1. Heaven.

www.freelancehouse.co.uk said...

I do drink latte every day, Jess. I've never heard about such a drink before, but my mom's always up to something weird. She's such a weirdo at times. So she bought me once a latte and made me drink it. That was so sweet, I could hardly take it into my mouth. Gosh, she made me do this..