First I wanted to explain something. I am not doing this with the point of having no soda whatsoever. I am trying to increase control over my own desires, so that I can have and do things I enjoy with reasonable moderation. I have no intention of living the life of a monk, drinking only water, waking up at the butt-crack of dawn and eating a bare minimum. But neither do I want to live the life of a glutton. I have noticed certain tendencies in myself leaning in the latter direction, and I wanted to curb those tendencies, so I can continue to live a healthy life. So I am still drinking Mountain Dew. But I am only drinking one can a day. To some that may seem excessive still, but, well, that's you. For me, one seems a reasonable goal.
The thing is, when I first started this, I didn't have a clear idea of limits. In general I wanted to carry the can around and not drink it, but I wasn't clear with myself how much I could drink. It was only clear that I wanted to drink less, and for the first few days, 1 seemed like a good number, so I allowed myself that simple indulgence. Having no strict limit seemed like something more of a challenge. That way, I knew that I could drink the can if I really wanted to, and I wouldn't be breaking any rules, per se. And that did make it harder. It became a battle between wanting another soda and increasing my capacity to resist. It really made me work those resistance muscles. But it also left the door open to be kind of a vague and purposeless exercise.
I held a pepsi in my hand a couple days ago. I thought to myself, it's not the same as Mountain Dew. I didn't really commit to resisting it. I'd really like to drink one. But then I thought about it further. What is it that I'm really doing? What is it to resist temptations, if there are no clear limits? There have been times in my life where I wanted to reduce the amount of limits I place on myself. After all, if I want to watch an extra hour of tv one day, I'd like to have the freedom to do so, once in a while. If every once in a while I want to have 2 sodas, it's not such a big deal. But what do I (and so many other people) do without those limits? If an extra hour, why not one more? If 2, why not 3? What's to stop 3 from becoming 4? At times, I would consider that it would be better merely to shift my focus. Instead of limits, I would work daily on my focus, meditating on a better way, telling myself that I really want healthy foods and orange juice. And it does help, to some extent. But without certain rules in place, I am only doing what I feel. Even with daily meditation, I am finding there is just no replacement for rigorous discipline.