I’ve posted this quiz before, but because I think it’s such a very helpful thing to know about yourself, I’m posting it again. Recognizing this distinction has been one of the most important insights that I’ve had into my own nature — more helpful, say, than understanding that I’m an under-buyer, not an over-buyer.
A piece of advice I often see is, “Be moderate. Don’t have ice cream every night, but if you try to deny yourself altogether, you’ll fall off the wagon. Allow yourself to have the occasional treat, it will help you stick to your plan.”
I’ve come to believe that this is good advice for some people: the “moderators.” They do better when they try to make moderate changes, when they avoid absolutes and bright lines.
For a long time, I kept trying this strategy of moderation — and failing. Then I read a line from Samuel Johnson, who said, when someone offered him wine: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.”
Ah ha! Like Dr. Johnson, I’m an “abstainer.”
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