Restriction as a Tool for Growth
How to Use Restriction to Help You Achieve Your Goals
At KJO Coaching, we're all about flexibility, sustainability, education, and NOT restriction. But I also believe there’s a time and place for something that I call “momentary restriction.”
Momentary restriction is a tool we often use with our clients to help them achieve their goals.
Or, I should say, a tool our clients use with themselves.
How Momentary Restriction Works
The concept of momentary restriction requires temporary restriction from something for the sake of a mental challenge and “trying” something out to understand the personal benefits (or detriments).
1. There are many different ways to implement this tool, for example: Eliminate processed foods for 1 week to get back into the groove of healthy eating
- This is an opportunity for you to go all-in on embracing nutrient-dense foods and trying the new nutritious recipes you’ve been eyeing online for a while. This will allow you to really see how different you feel when healthy eating is a big focus!
2. Go dairy-free for 2 weeks to see if it improves your digestion
- You won’t know if dairy is negatively affecting your digestion unless you give yourself the opportunity to find out - this is a great way to use total restriction, but only momentarily, before you decide if permanent dairy-free living is best for you.
3. Unplug the WiFi at 8 pm for 1 week to see how it feels to be “offline” as you wind down for the night
- You may be surprised at how much your sleep and stress levels will improve from this simple change! It would be hard to convince yourself to do this “for good” if you’re typically on screens until bedtime, but 1 week?? No problem. It makes for a great trial run!
4. Ditch alcohol for 2 weeks
- Alcohol can impact everything from sleep quality to your hormones, not to mention the adverse effects heavy drinking has on your organs. You might be interested in pulling back on your boozin’ but not ready to go cold turkey. Restricting for a short period will give you a sneak peek at how much alcohol really does impact your life and how you feel!
Why Less is More When it Comes to Restriction
You might be thinking…if you want to do it, then DO IT. Not just for 7 days??
Here’s why short-term restriction can be beneficial:
If you do these things right now (eat lots of processed food, consume dairy daily, sit on your phone until you go to bed, drink multiple times per week, etc.), then if you make the sudden decision to STOP for no predetermined amount of time, sticking with the habits will feel impossible. And there's a good chance that you won’t put the effort in at all.
But for just 1 or 2 weeks?
It’s not so daunting.
It relieves you of the responsibility to keep this up FOREVER.
You can do practically anything for this short amount of time.
Not to mention, the practice of momentary restriction can strengthen your self-control and your ability to keep promises to yourself, too.
The practice of momentary restriction is an opportunity to see what “life might be like” if you WERE to make a permanent change.
You're just testing the waters.
You Might Discover Benefits from Certain Types of Restriction
Without processed foods, you discover you have a lot of fun getting creative with snack choices?
Rather than going for a candy bar when you want a snack, maybe you’ll reach for some melon and prosciutto or rediscover how good apples and peanut butter are.
You might also discover that you feel less bloated when you don’t consume dairy.
If you’re regularly bloated, this will come as a major relief to stop feeling the discomfort of bloating.
You sleep BEST when you’re not on screens before bed?
By improving your sleep quality, you’re setting yourself up for success in other parts of your life. It will improve your workouts, stress levels, and how you function overall throughout the day.
You realize that you have just as much fun with your friends without alcohol?
Because, as it turns out, your friends are great people who you enjoy spending time with regardless of whether alcohol is present. Plus, not waking up with a hangover the next day is a huge win.
These are all potential EPIPHANIES that you wouldn’t have had without practicing some momentary restriction.
Of course, it’s possible that you won’t have a massive revelation, or maybe you even feel worse in some capacity.
But even those outcomes STILL provide you with important information. Those are STILL helpful insights about yourself.
The momentary restriction allows for increased awareness, a space for trial and error and safe experimentation.
You’ll allow yourself to learn more about yourself and how your habits impact your life in a low-pressure way because a week or two isn’t a massive commitment, but it’s enough to show you the potential benefits of making certain changes.
Momentary Restriction isn’t One-Size-Fits-All
NOTE: I don’t recommend this “tool” for everyone.
Coaches — this is something we will touch on in the Health Mindset Coaching Certification, amongst many other tools, to help increase client adherence, retention, and success.
If you're going to restrict - do so wisely!
And remember, you’re better off starting small with one or two habits than you are trying to restrict everything at once. Trying to do too much will leave you feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up before you even start.
If you’re interested in trying out momentary restriction and want to work with expert coaches who can guide you through the process, apply for 1:1 coaching with the KJO team!
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