One thing I've learned from one of my favorite people, Cesar Milan, is to live in the moment. This is one of the reasons I love my dogs so much. They don't care how many times you've failed, they don't care what mistakes you've made, they are living for right now. If they're hungry, they eat. If they are tired, they sleep. If they are happy, they are outright and unabashedly going to display it. When they feel like playing, they do it with complete abandon. However, with all of this instinctual ability to live in the now, they need rules boundaries and limitations or they will not be a balanced dog. They will become obsessive, fixated, aggressive, or fearful.
How I have tried to avoid rules, boundaries, limitations. Oh, how I've tried. I think it was just born in me to be obstinate, willful, and stubborn (I just love my thesaurus). Every time I give myself a limit, I will break right through it. Like once it is forbidden, it becomes all that more enticing. Could be that I'm just human, could be that I have no self-control, perhaps it is because I like being a non-conformist. I really don't know but now that I know this about myself I've got to make sure I go about things a little differently.
So...rules, boundaries, limitations. Sounds easy enough, that is, if I want to be a balanced dog. Another thing I learned is you can't stop bad behavior by just simply taking something away...there has to be a replacement. I'm one of those "do" people. Give me a job, give me something I can get my hands on and do. If I'm faced with a mountain of limits, don't eat this, don't drink that, don't go there, don't stay up late, don't sleep in, don't watch that, don't read this...I'll go flipping nuts! But, if there is a list of do's or "get-to's" I'll be much more likely to conform to it. Like, you get to go on a long walk with your dogs. You get to eat this wonderful healthy meal. You get to read your bible. You get to take a long bath and put yourself to bed at a decent hour. You get to cook. You get to vacuum the floor, etc...
Limitations for me are going to be tricky so I've decided to go one step at a time. My first limit I am putting on myself is an eating cut-off time. This worked so beautifully for me in the past. I slept better, lost weight almost immediately, and really loved having a time set for dinner and having the kitchen "closed" and cleaned before bed. My cut-off is going to be 7:30. Not a grape, not a nut...nada! I can drink water or sip hot tea if I need a little something. But the get-to is that I get to prepare lovely meals for my family, sit them around the table and enjoy their company even as we clean the dishes together and plan something fun to do after dinner. Sounds like fun to me. Plus, I really like those guys. Spending more scheduled time with them will only benefit this family. It is a little sad that we must schedule in time for family but in this day and age, it is just the way things are. I guess I can do a little conforming.
So, I shall forget my past attempts and failures. I'll live in the moment, whatever that moment may require of me. Right now, I am called to bake a cake for my daughter's 18th birthday party. I'll lick the bowl should I get the urge and remember all the lovely things she has brought to my life and be thankful that she likes strawberry cake.