Rule or Principle? - Internal vs. External Control

- POSTED ON: Aug 08, 2016

My behavior is based on principles rather than rules.

A "Rule" externally compels you, through force, threat or punishment, to do the things someone else has deemed good or right. People follow or break rules.

A "Principle" internally motivates you to do the things that seem good and right to you.

The outside world, including all rewards and punishment, can only provide information.  It doesn’t make me do anything.  My inside world is what actually causes me to do things. 

While “Rules” come from others, “Principles” come from inside.

A reliance on external control results in an unwillingness to accept personal responsibility and recognize that our lives are largely the product of the choices we make.

We take information in through our senses, understand it based on our knowledge, and evaluate it against our personal values. We actively construct perceptions that we believe are identical to what exists in the “real world.” Whether they accurately reflect reality or not is essentially irrelevant. We live our lives based upon the perceptions we develop.

William Glasser’s primary contribution to the field of psychology relates to the understanding of what he calls “total behavior”.  Behavior is made up of four components: Acting, Thinking, Feeling, and Physiology.  Change any component of total behavior, and the other components change as well.

We have little direct control of our Feelings,  but we almost always have some control over our Acting and our Thinking.  Our Physiology … the involuntary mechanisms that work to keep our bodies alive and functioning (primarily at the level of organs and systems within systems), … is outside of our direct control.

All of our behavior serves a function.  The purpose of behavior is to feel better by keeping our internal scales in balance so that what we perceive comes close to what we want. 

Because I understand that I am motivated from the inside out, I recognize that all “diet rules” are merely suggestions for potential behavior. I am continually free to make any eating choice that I find suitable for me, and I am responsible to myself for all of those choices.

Here at DietHobby, I often post a complicated article along with my own simple discussion.

This post reverses the process, since below is a simple article to go along with my own complicated discussion. 

Diet Rules - Things as they are.
          by Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat

"I once read that “People aren’t afraid of change, they’re afraid of being changed” –  A statement I think is kind of silly considering I really don’t believe people ever change.

Sure they get older, more experienced, wiser (hopefully) but their inner nature?  I think it stays the same.

Which is why I think diet rules are silly – They try to change you.

As I type this I’m drinking an espresso, at some point today I’ll have some form of chocolate, maybe a Guinness in the evening  – These habits aren’t going to change anytime soon. So any diet that tries to force me to quit any of these habits is going to be met with resistance, and ultimately failure.

If a diet asks me to track and count and measure I’ll try, but inevitably I’ll fail. Because the diet was too far outside of my nature. For some people a diet that DOESN'T ask them to track, count and measure may be too far outside THEIR nature.

For dieting to be successful, you need to understand yourself.

If you don’t understand yourself, you can’t really respect yourself and therefore you are easily influenced by others…Jumping from diet to diet, fad to fad.

Don’t get me wrong - to lose weight you are going to have to change some habits, erase some habits and also create some new ones, and for most of us this won’t be easy, but as long as the changes are still within our nature, they will be doable.

To be successful at weight loss and changing your body you need to know:

Who you are and what you like.
You need to know the foods you really can’t do without.
The ‘bad’ habits that you have that you aren’t willing to give up.
You also need to know what you have to work with - How much room do you have for new habits?

When writing Eat Stop Eat I made sure I never tell people what they can and can’t eat. There really are no diet rules.

What you are and are not going to eat is up to you. This allows you to work with your own inner-nature while dieting. Diet Rules do the opposite – Try to force you to change in a way you may not be willing to change.

Bottom Line- Don’t think of weight loss as trying to change yourself, think of it as improving yourself in a manner that fits who you are.

Make the changes you know you can make, but when it comes to the changes you can’t make, they’ll be of no benefit to you - no matter how ‘magical’ they are made out to be, if you don’t do them, they won’t work.

Success will come naturally this way."

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