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Your Lack of Self-Discipline - HALT

We need to stop and ask ourselves “Why am I about to choose something I know I will regret later?”


People who know me are already questioning why Dave Anderson is writing about self-discipline. They’re saying, “This guy is going to tell us how to avoid giving into our urges! You have got to be kidding!” 


But, today I am going to talk about the struggle that many of us face.  It is a struggle that creates problems for many good people.  It is a struggle that causes us to gain weight and lose our cool. It is also the struggle that causes the poor choices that damage our reputations and more importantly our character.


Let’s face it. There are some things in this life that feel good in the short term, but in the long run are damaging. A lot of those times, the things we choose are not bad in and of themselves.  What is okay for one person, may cause another person to stumble. Those things are different for different people. Some people can stop after one scoop of ice cream or one beer.  Others struggle in those moments. 


I am not a nutritionist or a psychologist. But there are moments when our willpower to avoid making bad choices will be running low.  These are the moments when we should all pause before making decisions.  In these moments, we give in to our craving for that last piece of cake in the fridge. And, these are also the moments we give in to our lower self. 


They are moments when we might want to snap at somebody, defending ourselves from a perceived slight. These are moments when the easiest path in the short term seems to be cutting a corner or omitting some information from a story.  They are the moments when how we feel begins to determine whether we hold tightly to our character, or choose the lower version of ourselves.  This is the version we don’t like later when we look in the mirror.


HALT the Insanity


An acronym that has helped me and helped other people avoid bad choices when they are tempted.  That acronym is:


H - Hungry

A - Angry

L - Lonely

T - Tired


When you look back on your own bad choices whether it be around the food you eat or the character choices you make, I bet these feelings were involved at those moments.  Whether it is one of these feelings or a combination, they lower our defenses against bad decisions. When we are not Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, that doesn’t mean we don’t have the same temptations. It just means we are stronger in the moment of testing and more likely to win these battles for our character. 


Understanding and thinking through your current emotional and physical state, can prevent you from damaging your character with a poor choice.  When our instincts are screaming at us to defend ourselves, or sacrifice our Integrity, or join in the gossip, we need to stop and ask ourselves “Why am I about to choose something I know I will regret later?” 


My dad, The General used to say to me, “Hey bud!  If what you are about to say is your first instinct…Go with your second!” 


It is hard to have self-discipline when we are depleted emotionally or physically. At the moment we realize we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, our first instinct is the thing that we are likely to regret.  The second instinct, after we eat, cool off, talk to a friend, or sleep, is probably going to be the best choice.


Trust me. Self-discipline does not come easy to me.  Maybe that is why they call it discipline.  It takes attention and hard work.  HALT is a great warning for any of us working on disciplining our eating, drinking, and our character.



●      When have you made a bad choice when you were Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?

●      How could you avoid that same choice in the future?


Here is a quick assessment that will take you 5 minutes to figure it out. Nobody will ever see your results but you.


Warning: If you are not going to be honest with yourself this is a worthless assessment.

To take the assessment use the QR code above or go to

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