These 3 things always work.
We’ve just introduced something at home with the kids to help them learn about the concept of healthy boundaries, self-control & discipline.
It’s Strong Mondays.
It all came about from Tony chatting with Gen about becoming stronger on the Monkey Bars.
I’m sure she is a monkey from a past-life and between home, school and gymnastics, she monkey bars multiple times each day.
At first she was determined to hang on.
And then she was determined to move forward.
And then it was how many rungs can she do….and now it’s, “Hey Mum, watch me go backwards!”
The whole time she has been implementing (without realising) the scientific principle of progressive overload (getting stronger by doing a little more each time), and the life principle of – never give up!
If you want something bad enough, you have to work at it and be prepared to suck at first. And only after you’ve worked hard at it, will you master something.
So the Strong Monday conversation started with Tony….
“Hey Gen, you know how you have chocolate after dinner each night as a treat….?”
“Well why don’t you have a night without chocolate?”
“But I love chocolate Daddy!” There was slight fear in her eyes at the thought, but she was listening…and I was mildly amused where this conversation might go.
“I know you do Gen, but sometimes it’s good to not always have treats because then it’s not a treat!”
“Ummmm” Gen had no idea what to say.
“Gen, you want to get stronger on the monkey bars and you know chocolate is a treat, so if you don’t have chocolate one night, you’ll definitely get stronger and be able to do more monkey bars.”
The Master Head Coach had struck again and delivered his first lesson to his daughter – the art of self control.
“But I really, really love chocolate Daddy…”
“Of course you do Gen, it’s up to you, just thought it was a good idea to help you get stronger.”
She pondered….“Ok Daddy, I’ll do it.”
“Great Gen, which day of the week do you want to choose?”
Tony was now applying the principle of specificity. Getting specific about the action she’d have to take based on what she’d now promised herself.
“I think Monday’s Daddy, so that it’s over with at the beginning of the week, and I can have chocolate all the other nights!”
“That sounds like a great idea Gen. Why don’t we call it Strong Mondays. And you know what Gen, I’ll do it with you, I won’t have any Wine on Mondays ok?”
WTF did he just say? No Wine? Was he going to drag me into this as well?
“Mummy, did you hear that? We are going to have Strong Mondays and Gen is not going to have any chocolate and I’m not going to have any Wine…. Did you want to join us?”
“Of course – that sounds like a great idea!” There were possibly daggers thrown at Tony at that point in my mind.
So Strong Mondays it is, and I have to confess it’s a good thing, despite the loathing and cursing on the first one.
It’s been weeks now of Strong Monday’s in the Hebrard House, and it has really reminded of these 3 timeless principles that always work…..
1. Set your intentions small. One out of seven days to abstain from a treat is doable. Go small so you can keep it going after the honeymoon period is over. The mental battle is small so you can win at it on the days you couldn’t be f****d. The mental strength you’ll gain far outweighs any physical benefit from just one day.
2. Support Works By having Strong Mondays as a family we can support and nurture each other with words of encouragement and affirmation of the big picture – getting stronger for whatever is important to you. Find your support crew & get them on board!
3. Make it Fun & Empowering. We gave our “thing” a name. It’s a positive name to affirm what we are gaining, rather than any reference to what we are abstaining from. We could have named it, “Treat free night” but Strong Mondays is so much more empowering for your mind.
P.S. Here is our monkey doing her thing!