The Benefit of Accountability in Fasting

I was minding my own business last week, catching up with some of the blogs I follow via Google Reader, when I clicked on a link for Stephen Uchacz’s blog SMU Today titled “My Stages of Withdrawal”. It turns out Stephen was not chronicling his withdrawal from any sort of illicit substance or activity (whew!), but was sharing how he had decided to declare September #NoSodaSeptember. It turns out soda (pop for us Canucks) is something Stephen normally consumes on a daily basis, and he decided to cut it out of his diet for a month. In a brilliant move, Stephen included a quote from him self containing this deep insight: “Giving up things is hard!”

(It is true — giving stuff up, particularly something you enjoy on a daily basis, is hard!)

I appreciated the humour in Stephen’s “self quote”, and left the following comment: “That Stephen guy you quoted is right — giving up stuff *is* hard! But you can do it! I think I need a #NoFanFictionSeptember (it’s the fault of the BBC’s “Sherlock” . . .). Is it too late to start?”

In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn’t have asked if it was too late to start, because before I could say, “Elementary, my dear Watson!”, I had agreed to join Stephen in his #No_______September by fasting from fan fiction. I also told my husband what was happening, so I had the extra accountability to someone I see on a daily basis.

After two and a half days into what will be for me a 23-day fast, I’m glad I did the following two things:

  1. I made myself accountable to others during this period of fasting.
  2. I am deliberately and purposefully taking a prolonged break from reading fan fiction.

Why? Because, not surprisingly, I have already had a few times where I have really wanted to read one of the Sherlock or Doctor Who fanfic stories I have been following. But by making myself accountable to others, I haven’t followed through on those urges because I don’t want to let Jeff or Stephen down. I feel as though they both not only have my back, but that they are also cheering me on in this particular race. I don’t want them to feel as though they are wasting their breath.

I’ve also come to see a bit more clearly (I’m sure my focus will sharpen as the days progress) how much time I have taken away from other things by “quickly checking” one story or the other. For I have seldom been quick about it. And as my pastor said this past Sunday, “You can spend your life any way you want, but you only get to spend it once.” Do I really want to spend X amount of time each week reading fan fiction stories? Or would the time be better spent on going through my “To Read” pile of books or working on a story of my own, etc.?

So I’m taking #NoFanFictionSeptember to get onto a better track in regards to how I use my free time. Thanks, Jeff and Stephen, for cheering me on thus far! I really appreciate it. I’ll do my best not to whine any time it is more of a temptation to give in. And thank you, readers, for unbeknownst to you, you have become part of my accountability team upon reading this entire post. Hey — the more the merrier, right?

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