Come on.  True confessions.  Have you ever binged watched on Netflix?  Or YouTube? 

I must admit that I have had a few marathon sessions watching shows that I “missed” as they originally were released. And it is so easily done.  You don’t even have to do, click or enter anything further once you start watching one show.  As soon as the final credits roll at the end of one show, the new segment pops up, starts loading on your screen and within seconds it begins.

The times that I have serial watched,  I come away with a myriad of emotions: disgust at my lack of self-control about my time, relieve that it is finally over, disappointment that the story line is so basic.  On only a couple of occasions was I satisfied with the whole process of watching the story continually unfold and resolving with a good ending.  It is similar to the times when I have stayed up to 2 am reading a page turner in bed. 

Moderation in all things.  How true.  But how difficult to achieve.  Why is it?  

I like the definition of moderation in the Cambridge dictionary: "moderation is the quality of doing something within reasonable limits".  One would think if it is reasonable, it would be easy to achieve yet think of all the things we do in excess:  

  • Over eating. I have never been a binge eater although I have had my fair share of eating too much. This is especially true as the holiday season is upon us. 
  • Binge drinking.  Apparently this is not just a college problem.  I was surprised when I got into the working world to learn of my colleagues weekends; "functioning" adults who drink to excess on weekends.  If you had any thoughts that it didn't apply to the rest of society- listen to the words of the current country songs- heavy drinking is advocated to relieve pain from a relationship, a difficult boss or just as good time Charlie. 
  • Over exercising.  Exercise is great and I am an advocate but I know of people who take it way too seriously and over do it. The result- strains, injuries and possible permanent damage.
  • Over spending. Just look at our national deficit and it doesn't take long to realize the problem that we have with spending too much and with money we don't have.
  • Over sexed.  Whether you agree or disagree with the sexual revolution, there is no denying that we have an increase in our obsession with sex.  In the extreme it can cause disease, heartache, violence, pain and even death. 

I also like the Oxford dictionary's  definition of moderation: "the action of making something less extreme, intense, or violent.  The avoidance of excess or extremes, especially in one's behaviour or political opinions."

How can we be self-controlled and remain moderate?  When it seems that society is pushing us to the extremes, how do we hold to the middle course? How do we make things less extreme?  How do we do something within reasonable limits? 

I saw an online system for helping school children learn self-control.  It is the acronym WOOP:  Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.  The idea is to help children achieve self-control by using this technique:

  • Wish:  Something you really want to accomplish.  
  • Outcome: The best outcome from accomplishing this goal
  • Obstacle: The personal obstacles that hinder you from accomplishing this goal
  • Plan: What can you do to overcome your obstacle? Name one action you can take or thought you can have. Make an if/then plan and imagine it.   If / When _________ (obstacle), then I will __________ (action to overcome obstacle)

Certainly this may seem very simplistic and naive tool but I think we can learn something from this.  Many times we are swayed to excess because we don't pause and reflect.  We are so busy that it is easy to get caught up in what society is doing and not figuring out what is important to us as individuals.    I think practicing a WOOP technique might help us in lessening the extremes.  

What about you?  Have you ever done anything to excess?  What happened?  Did you regret it?  How do you handle moderation?  How is your self-control?  What steps can you take today to move closer towards your goal?   What have you seen lately on Netflix? 

 Click here to read more about WOOP.