Today, I needed some extra motivation. I should probably visit YouTube and watch some of SPT’s old vlogs – and probably will, when I finish this. But first, I decided to read some of my old blog posts.

I rediscovered Day 2. And was hit once again with the importance of identity.

I’ve been struggling with my commitment to Bright Line Eating recently. I don’t know why. But I may have found a clue in this old post. In it, I acknowledged that:

  1. In order for this to work, I have to embrace BLE as part of my identity; and
  2. I do not form loyalties, or incorporate anything into my identity easily – I am extremely hesitant to commit to anything.

In that post, I also asked myself a few questions:

How do you manufacture loyalty? How do I rally every part of myself so that we’re all on the same side? How do I incorporate BLE into my character, my personality, my identity?

Day 2: this is Really Happening

I never answered those questions. And that was a major oversight.

Growing Identity from Habit

I dipped into the subject in Day 3, with some talk about habits eventually becoming incorporated into one’s identity naturally. And I still do think there’s some value in that. The problem is, I’ve had 18 years of forming, and living out, some very bad habits. They are pretty ingrained as a part of me, even if it’s a part I don’t want. Developing completely new, contradictory habits to the point that they become automatic is no simple proposition. I’m not an expert on this, but the general rule is the longer someone has had a particular habit, the longer it takes to replace it with an alternative. If I have to wait that long for this new identity to form, I’m in big trouble. Because it’s always going to be easier to fall back into the old habits – to default to the old me.

Struggling with Identity

I need this change now. Like I said, I am struggling. My lines aren’t bright anymore. They’re wavering. They’re fuzzy. If I don’t figure this out – fast – this whole endeavour is just going to be chalked up to another failed experiment.

I need to truly, completely, no-turning-back, switch sides. I need to embrace BLE as a part of who I am.

I once told sugar and flour (and later, cheese and nuts) that they were dead to me. But it’s harder to let go of things than it seems. Those pronouncements helped me remain committed, for a while, but as they faded back in time, my commitment to them grew weaker. I allowed them to sneak back in.

What makes a commitment real? What strengthens it? What builds loyalty and identity? What does it take to truly switch sides?

Identity through Declaration

I don’t know much about this. But I think a public declaration, of some sort, is helpful. A promise made in front of witnesses. Marriages, baptisms, and other sacred vows made throughout history have this in common. There is a reason we invite friends and family to weddings – a promise made in secret is a weak one, easily broken. If we take an honest look at ourselves, we know that we often let silly things come out of our mouths. We say things we don’t mean, express opinions we don’t believe, and are generally careless – and quite often, deliberately deceptive – with our words. We’re habitual liars, and our words alone don’t signify a whole lot. When we make a decision as serious as marrying or devoting our lives to God, we know that our word isn’t enough. Making that commitment before a crowd, creating a literal community to whom we become accountable for meeting that commitment, adds weight to our word. And it should make it more difficult for us to go back on it.

There are other associated elements: the signing of official documents; the involvement of recognized officials, either civic or clerical; the incorporation of ceremonial traditions; the wearing of special clothing. All to signify that this is no ordinary event, but a special one; a once-in-a-lifetime event.

When I started this blog, I saw it as my declaration of intent. I was becoming accountable to this community. And that was a good thing. But I think I fell short. Most egregiously, in what I committed to. As I go through my old posts, I’m noticing a disturbing trend in my wording. Though sometimes strong, what comes across most clearly is a commitment to try.

When 2 people love each other, and decide to marry, they do not spend thousands of dollars and invite all their relatives to watch them stand at the front of a church and promise to try to stick together for the rest of their lives. They promise to do it. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. There are no ‘except ifs’. They don’t leave themselves an exit strategy.

When I was baptized, I didn’t tell my church that I’d decided to try following Christ, and see how it went. I declared my absolute loyalty to him. That I would not be separated from him, even unto death.

I took it very seriously. I understood the consequences of any future treachery, and I gladly accepted the terms. Because there was no doubt in me. I’d been won over, heart, mind, and soul. I knew that I’d gained something worth more than my life.

Compared to that, my commitment to BLE was a great big nothing-burger. There was some value in it, certainly, but I shouldn’t be surprised to be where I am today.

I need to commit – to do, not to try. I need to say it in front of you. And I need to say it to someone I know.

This blog means a lot to me. As does my facebook group. And my Mastermind group. But in the end, the reality is that I could easily walk away from any of them. This website could disappear tomorrow. I could sign off facebook, and even my Mastermind group wouldn’t be able to track me down. I could leave them all behind, and pretend they’d never happened.

I need to tell someone I can’t get away from. It can’t even be a friend – I drop those far too easily. It has to be family.

I know it needs to be done. But I don’t know how. And it scares me.

I’m going to need to sleep on this.

Day 56: Identity
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