It’s easy to get caught up in pursuing more of everything we enjoy, but moderation is a surer path to a happy and meaningful life. You can learn a lot from Aristotle and find many practical ways to achieve balance in your life.
General Principles of Moderation
1. Study Aristotle. You can read the entire Nicomachean Ethics or pick up a quick study guide. You’ll see how virtue comes from steering a middle path between excess and deficiency. Seeking moderation in all things pays off.
2. Cultivate good habits. Be moderate about moderation. Start with simple daily choices that build a strong foundation. Skip the second helping of dessert or clear out one shelf at a time in your garage.
3. Be flexible. Moral evaluation can get complicated. Keep an open mind to find new approaches to common dilemmas like conflicts with your in-laws or sticking to your budget. Seek feedback from others while you craft solutions that work for you.
4. Become more mindful. Tune into the pleasures that already surround you. Savor the aroma of your morning coffee while you listen to the harmonies of the birds as they welcome the dawn.
5. Learn how habituation works. Our brains get used to the same old stimulation and stop responding. That’s why the excitement over a new car can dissipate so quickly. Good character and spiritual accomplishments last much longer.
6. Delay gratification. Putting off gratification is one of the most effective skills for success in life. Increase your patience and get to like the feeling of anticipation.
7. Indulge yourself. Temperance is different from denial. You can still have a good time. Just buy the one pair of shoes you really love instead of buying out the whole store.
8. Set a good example. In addition to making your own experiences more rewarding, moderation will help you become a better role model. Your kids will see how to live well and find true happiness. Naturally, you may need to explain what you’re doing if your newfound sense of moderation requires changing some old house rules.
Applying Moderation in Specific Circumstances
1. Watch your diet. Crash diets can undermine your health and many people gain back more weight than they lose in the first place. Aim for a nutritious eating plan that fits your lifestyle.
2. Enrich your friendships. Be a good friend by acting generously and respectfully towards others while fulfilling your own needs. It will promote true harmony.
3. Improve your love life. Crushes usually fizzle out quickly. Pay attention to your existing obligations and social circle while you see where a new love interest may lead.
4. Manage your money. Sound financial planning will enable you to spend, save and invest according to your own personal income level and net worth. Economic security can increase your options in life and work wonders for your peace of mind.
5. Take risks. Getting ahead often means venturing beyond our comfortable boundaries. A careful assessment of risks and benefits will help protect you from rash decisions or missed opportunities.
6. Limit your time online. Of course, Aristotle fails to mention the Internet. Use your leisure time to grow closer to family and friends and expand your education by switching off the TV sitcoms and setting time limits on video games and web surfing.
7. Develop positive self esteem. A healthy sense of self keeps excessive vanity or modesty in check. Celebrate your achievements while you acknowledge how much you still have yet to learn.
Avoiding extremes is good advice for all our daily activities. Practicing moderation will help you to better enjoy your current blessings and welcome more good things into your life.