My Internet Diet

I recently read a book about willpower and self-control that I thought had a lot of interesting ideas in it. I, like most people, feel like I have a lot I want to improve in my life. On the one hand, I think I'm doing pretty well in the life that I have. I get up and go to work every day and generally get my work done when I need to; my kids are always fed and clothed; my bank accounts and credit card aren't overdrawn and I have money in the bank; I have some food storage and I stay within my budget; my house is mostly clean most of the time and the laundry and dishes get done regularly; we go to church every week and I mostly get the things done for my calling that I need to. Outwardly I think I'm doing all right and I fulfill most of my obligations to my family, my job, and other people as best I can. Inwardly, though, I'm a bit of a mess. I don't get enough sleep, I don't read my scriptures or pray very often at all, I haven't been to the temple for a while, and I waste too much time doing things that really aren't all that important. I've been wanting to make some positive changes for a while (and I'm sure you've heard me saying this multiple times on the blog), but I don't even know where to start. I want to improve my diet, get more sleep, get in better physical shape, and be more spiritually in tune. The hardest thing is figuring out what comes first because all those things are intertwined.

I want to try two things that I read about in that book; first is the fact that things that are monitored tend to improve, and second is that improvement in one area will usually lead to improvement in other areas even if they don't seem to be related. So, if I just pick one thing and work on it, it might give me the momentum to make more changes. It's been long enough since I even tried to set goals that I'm not sure how it will go. But, it's worth a try. The first thing I've decided to work on is actually probably one of the hardest, but I think that if I can break one bad habit it will help everything else fall into place. I've decided to start with cutting back my internet use. Although the fact that I rarely post anything substantial on this blog anymore might lead you to believe that I'm hardly ever online, in fact the opposite is true. Mindless internet surfing has become my fall-back time filler; it's probably better than mindless emotional eating, but not by much. So, the first thing I'm going to do is keep an internet diary of all the times I'm on the internet during the day, how long I'm on there, and what I'm doing. Numerous studies have shown that keeping a food diary is an effective diet tool because it makes you more aware of what you are eating and makes you more accountable. I'm going to apply the same principle to my internet use for the next three weeks just to see what happens. For at least the first week I won't even try to consciously change my habits yet; I'll simply record what I do with my time in a typical week. Hopefully I'll see some patterns emerge and then I can come up with some good strategies for making changes. I will report back in one week with the results.

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