Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Building Self Control









"Who is strong? One who conquers his desires." the Talmud

Many times people want to stop doing something however somehow they cannot find enough will power to do so. They know something is wrong and destructive, however they simply cannot control themselves so they continue doing it and hating themselves for it.

Is there a simple solution?

In my experience, yes: making vows.

It works like this. Each week you read a list of vows along the lines of:

The following fast days will be obligatory only if I definitely and knowingly require myself to observe them, and I am aware that I am required to observe them an hour after having fulfilled the conditions needed to require the fast.

I hereby accept upon myself that if later this week or next week I knowingly unblock any webpage from ContentProtect software I will be required to fast 1 day during this month of Av, 5766 or next month of Elul, 5766.

I hereby accept upon myself that if later this week or next week
I knowingly and deliberately turn on and listen to a radio or television I will be required to fast 1/2 day during this month of Av, 5766 or next month of Elul, 5766.



I have personally found this to be an incredibly powerful tool for building greater self-control in any area, whether it’s Judaism or weight control or anything else.

Of course, one must be careful and cautious about doing this responsibly and I think it can often be used as a sort of “training wheels”. Once one becomes stronger in a certain area, he can stop making the vow and do it on his own. Hopefully.

9 comments:

Jewish Atheist said...

I thought Jews aren't supposed to make vows.

jewish philosopher said...

I depends why. Refer, for example, to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 67:5 "He who makes vows in order to improve his character traits is zealous and praiseworthy."

Jewish skeptic said...

Here for a change I can agree with you.
It can be an incentive in weight control or trying to quit smoking & in other situations.

Jewish skeptic said...

Come to think of it,it's not such a big deal .All you have to do if you made a neder(vow)& changed your mind is hang on till yom kippur night & kol nidrei will take care of your vow.No guilt feelings!...

Anonymous said...

Man what do you have against RADIO!?! what about newspapers? Is'nt there some gemora about an amora who had to ask if rome was the leading world power at the time and his rebbe makink a sacastic remark about if he was living in a cave. Aparentlly you are holier then that guy.

jewish philosopher said...

I guess I'm pretty holy.

These were just examples by the way.

Baal Habos said...

> I guess I'm pretty holy.

Yes, "holier than thou". Thats become the point.

Goatboy said...

That is a horrible picture at the top of you post...

...I just thought you ought to know.

jewish philosopher said...

BHB, it's hard to measure holiness, but I would say I'm pretty holy generally. Perhaps I can be your inspiration.