Vice Control Challenge

vice1 /vīs/ – a weakness of character or behavior; a bad habit.

“Big Keith” was a friend of mine, he was actually the father of a friend of mine, who I used to party with back in the day. This guy embodied the term “old head”. Although I can’t say 25 years later that I agree with his parenting style of allowing kids get high in your house, as a teenager I was quite fond of him.

Anyway, Big Keith told me a story once, and I can’t remember if this was something he did or someone that he knew did, but once a year he would stop drinking/smoking for one month. He said it was to “clear his system”.

Vice Control

I didn’t think too much of it until several years later when my “partying” started to get out of control.

Related article: How I Overcame Addiction with Strength Training.

Since then its been in the back of my mind as a way to keep myself in check. I like to know that I am in control of my habits and they don’t have control over me.

So I decided to stop drinking for the month of September. Today is day 30 and it hasn’t been that hard. Giving up TV was harder!

Yeah, I did that too. Not quite intentionally though.

Natural Disaster, I suppose?

A lightening storm knocked out both our TV’s and the XBOX on the second day of my Vice Control Challenge. It was strange because we didn’t lose power, and nothing else was damaged. Even the modem, which was plugged into the same surge protector that the TV & XBOX were, was fine.

To explain why I didn’t rush out and buy a new TV like a normal person would, I first have to frame my perspective on this seemingly “natural disaster”.

One thing I do when I do a Vice Control Challenge is I treat it like a fast, and I pray. I’m not confident that I could do any of them successfully without that.

In any case, my prayer is usually along the lines of asking for a blessing that I know only God could do. So, when my house got struck by lightening, you can understand where my mind went to.

Sometimes blessings come in disguise; and that’s how it’s been without TV for a month. As a family we’re talking more, reading more and the kids are playing together more. We’re all getting more exercise as they spend more time outside and Jess and I spend more time in the bedroom 🙂

It’s been good. If we go back to the definition of the word vice – a weakness of character or behavior; a bad habit – it’s obviously good to take control over your vices.

Perhaps drinking or smoking isn’t your thing, but I bet you watch TV. Maybe you’re one of the few who don’t have a TV, then you’re probably on your phone a lot. It’s possible that you’re not much for technology at all, what about a sugar addiction?

The point is this: none of use are perfect and it’s doesn’t matter your poison, there’s something in your life that you need to take control over. It takes about 4 weeks to build new habits, so give yourself at least 4 weeks to break them too. You just might find that your health, your fitness and your life improves because of it.

6 weeks to 6 months

Remember my newsletter about 6 week challenge? It’s been 6 months and I’m still walking 20 minutes every morning. (If you’re not signed up for the newsletter – click here – you get a free ebook when you sign up)

We all know that health is about lifestyle change, not crash diets and over-hyped 4 week fitness programs. We chip away at this over the course of a lifetime, refining the process and getting better every time. There’s always something, a weakness of character or behavior, or bad habit, that we can improve on and replace with something better.

So here is the challenge: identify one thing in your life that you know you need to stop doing. Then stop doing it for 30 days. Find a suitable replacement and do that instead.

For example, if it’s after dinner snacking that you’d like to stop, discipline yourself to eat fruit and nuts instead. If the first thing you do in the morning is spend an hour Facebooking, get up and go for a walk instead. Maybe find a place to meditate or pray.

30 days. It’s not that long. You can go back to your old ways after the challenge is over, if you want.

What’s one thing that you need to work on?

Post your vice in the comments below!