In the months preceding my Bar Mitzvah I became determined that, when the day arrived, my skin should be absolutely clear and blemish-free, despite then being in the throes of pubescent acne. To achieve this goal I swore off chocolate and deep-fried food cold-turkey. For something like two or three months I upheld this prohibition (except for one time when I thoughtlessly accepted a few proffered potato chips, then agonized over them for the next several days). The result: it worked! On the day of my Bar Mitzvah my skin positively glowed.
That was the first of a handful of occasions on which I have rigorously denied something to myself pending the attainment of some goal. Another memorable instance was “No sushi until my startup makes some money.” (That one was a collective vow by all the founders of Zanshin. We broke the vow after the first couple of years for the occasion of our first important business meeting with a prospective partner. Man, that sushi tasted good.) The success of these efforts has hinged on my making a public declaration of them.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. My weight-loss program has stalled despite having added some exercise into the mix. I am oscillating around the 173-pound mark, but my daily goal is now almost down to 168. To get back on track, I am now publicly declaring that I will eat no more pasta until I break 170. (Why pasta? Well, I eat a lot of it. And subjectively speaking, the worst backsliding on my weight graph always seems to occur the morning after a pasta meal.)
Let’s give that a few days and see if it produces any results. If it doesn’t, I’ll add more foods to the prohibited list.