This time of year people make this big mistake when it comes to the temptation of really going overboard in indulging in something.
All the Christmas gatherings, all the food, all the spending.
They assume the pleasure they fantasize about will last the entire time. That it’s constant. That there’s never a decline.
Hell we are conditioned to believe it.
But it’s a classic mistake.
To really understand the model of overindulgence, it helps to look back on our own experience so we can truly understand what will happen, not just think we know what will happen.
Remember when you were really hungry? Maybe you got a lot of work done so you wanted to indulge yourself. You were famished. So you headed to your local burger joint and stared at the menu.
This was going to be good.
You ordered a bunch of stuff, too much stuff and you kind of knew it, but you didn’t care. You “deserved” it!
The first few bites were glorious but as you kept on consuming and started to get full, you looked at all that was left. There was still a lot. You had a couple of bites of everything but there’s still more to eat.
And then you felt it.
That sickening feeling that accompanies gluttony and overindulgence.
That wave of disgust.
And not only that, you felt ripped off. You thought that feeling of those first couple of bites would last the entire meal, but alas, it did not.
That right there is the model of indulgence to remember to help counter the temptation of overindulging.
And it does not just have to be food. It is the same with spending money. You buy something and it kind of feels good. Maybe you even actually needed something. But you kept spending and a few days later you realize that it was a big mistake to have spent that much on stuff you really did not need after all.
And to help you remember this, give it a name like the “first couple of bites” (FCB) model.
This is a very freeing model to have because most people fantasize about overindulging in something and they have a lot of angst about it because they feel like they’re missing out if they’re not doing it.
The office worker yearns for the day when he can fly to Tahiti and drink mojitos on the beach for the rest of his life without ever worrying about money. It sounds glorious when he’s working in his office 50 hours a week. He thinks the high that first day on the beach will last forever but alas, FCB pokes a needle in that balloon fantasy.
Many entrepreneurs have fallen for that same trap after selling their company for huge sums of money.
Go to the beach and relax for the rest of your life right? That’s it right?
Most are bored out of their minds after the first couple days.
What do they do?
Go back to work on building another company or organization.
Even I, as much as I love reading, can only do it for a good chunk of time before I feel like I’m overindulging, before I feel like it isn’t fun anymore.
It’s the same with any activity we enjoy.
So understanding the FCB model can help us realize we’re not missing out on much when we fantasize about overindulging in something. It’s also empowering because with the FCB model, you realize you can maximize your joy with just a couple of those figurative bites. In other words, we can scale back and make peace with it because we know we’re not missing out on anything.
Here’s a practical example I’m sure a lot of people put into practice, but don’t know that they’re employing the FCB model in the process of doing so.
After you eat dinner, you want to eat something sweet, so you chow down on that candy bar you bought at the checkout line that day. It can be a bit much. It’s not gluttony or anything but you feel like it’s a bit too much.
How can the FCB model be used here? Just eat a couple bites of that candy bar right? But we all know that doesn’t work. We eat the whole thing.
Then it may help to get those bite sized little chocolate bars. And just take out 1 or 2 of them and put them on the desk and put the bag away where it’s hard to reach to discourage you from eating more.
Just eating 1 or 2 of those fun sized little bars is enough to satisfy that sweet craving. In fact, the utility you get from just those 1-2 little bite size bars as opposed to eating a full bar is probably roughly the same if you think about it.
It might actually be more because you don’t have that sense of disgust for eating the whole bar and the disappointment at yourself for doing so too.
Look at other areas of your life and apply the FCB model. What do you fantasize about overindulging in? Then apply the FCB model on it. You won’t feel that angst anymore of missing out because you’re not missing out on anything at all.
It’s very freeing. You’ll feel like you’re getting the best bang for your buck and you are with FCB. That’s simply how we’re wired.
It’s common to fantasize about the extremes in indulgence and think that the “high” we get from it initially will never decline over time, but it does.
So don’t feel bad if you’re currently not overindulging in something.
Instead, figure out a way to eat a couple of figurative bites first.
You’ll definitely get more joy and satisfaction out of doing that than going overboard with it.