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Moderation,

which consists in an indifference about little things,

and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal

about things of importance,

can proceed from nothing but true knowledge,

which has its foundation in self-acquaintance.

Plato

It is very easy, and can also present a significant challenge when we get caught up in pursuing more of everything we enjoy. But moderation is a surer path to a happier, productive and more meaningful life. You can learn a lot from the philosopher Aristotle and find many practical ways to achieve balance in your life.

General guidelines

1. Study Aristotle. You can read the entire Nicomachean Ethics online, or pick up a quick study guide. You will see how virtue comes from steering a middle path between excess and deficiency. Seeking moderation in all things pays off in the long-run.

2. Foster good habits. Be moderate about moderation, funny I know. Start with your simple daily choices that build a strong foundation. Skip that second helping of dessert or clear out one shelf in your garage at a time.

3. Be adaptable. Moral evaluation can get pretty complicated. Keep an open mind to find new approaches to common dilemmas, like those conflicts with your in-laws or getting everyone to stick to the new budget. Seek feedback from others while you craft the solutions that will work for you.

4. Don’t forget mindfulness. 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 your own habituation works. Your brain get used to the same old stimulation and routine, stops responding. That is why the excitement over a new car can dissipate so quickly. Good character and spiritual accomplishments last much longer.

6. Re-learn delayed gratification. We live in a world where instant gratification has dulled our senses and often get us confused between our needs and wants. Putting off gratification is one of the most effective skills for success in life. Increase your patience and begin to enjoy the feeling of anticipation again.

7. Pamper 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. Be an exemplar. In addition to making your own experiences more rewarding, moderation will help you become a better role model to others. Your children will see how to live well and find true happiness. Naturally, you may need to explain what you are doing if your newfound sense of moderation requires changing some old house rules.

How can I apply moderation in extreme or special circumstances?

1. Eat mindfully, not mindlessly. Crash diets can undermine your health and most people gain back more weight than they have lost 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 toward others while fulfilling your own needs. It will promote true harmony.

3. Improve your romantic life. Crushes usually fizzle out quickly. Pay attention to your existing obligations and social circles while you see where a new relationship interest may lead.

4. Manage your finances. Sound financial planning will help you to spend, save and invest according to your own personal income level and net worth. Economic security can and will increase your options in life and will also work wonders for your peace of mind.

5. Take calculated risks. Getting ahead often means venturing beyond your comfortable boundaries. A careful assessment of risks and benefits will help protect you from rash decisions as well as 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. How? Expand your education by switching off the TV sitcoms and setting time limits on video games and web surfing.

7. Work on developing positive self esteem. A healthy sense of self helps us keep 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 better enjoy your current blessings and welcome more good things into your life.

To your continued success!

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