Ulysses Contract


When I used to run more challenges I did something with the group called a Ulysses contract. Do you remember the story of the Sirens? The myth goes that when Ulysses, sailing back from the Trojan war, sailed past the sirens. Knowing the dangers of the beautiful sirens he had his men tie him to the mast of the ship and then put wax in their ears so they could not hear his pleas to be released. He made a "contract" knowing he couldn't resist the sirens without being restrained. The moral of the story here is that we cannot rely on willpower alone to make it through the toughest times or the biggest temptations. The reason being that eventually even those with the highest willpower may break. If your pantry is full of cookies that is just mean, to yourself! A person with low willpower may eat the cookies the first time they walk into the kitchen. The person with high willpower may hold out until the 10th time in the kitchen and finally fall victim to the Siren's song. But the result is the same! The cookies get eaten. So we need to be like Ulysses. We either need to not put ourselves in tempting situations or if we are going to be in that situation we need to prepare in advance to greatly improve our chances of success with weight loss. Not bringing the cookies into the house, having some filling protein and veggies before attending a party with food so we aren't ravenous when we show up, avoid eating out frequently or know in advance what we will order, etc. Make a contract with yourself by doing this to protect your want-to-lose-weight-self from your future-hungry/tired/illogical-self. Prepare and plan and you will feel a lot less tired and stressed and instead feel victorious like Ulysses! 💪

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