I have noticed when making a decision about how long to fast or when to fast that there are two factors of influence. The first is my desire. I contemplate what meals I will miss and how difficult it would be and my desire starts to temper my will. But if I divorce my desire and ask myself, “What is the right thing to do?” then it is much easier to achieve clarity. Then if I make a promise, preferably written to myself, I foreclose on my desire having an influence over the decision at all. Because then my desire finds no point in stimulating my appetite. Effectively, my appetite shuts down. My appetitive shuts down because I absolutely know that I will not satiate it. So then, my will is able to effect the proper decision when I prevent my desire from confusing it. I think this leads to a working procedure.
1) Ask myself what is the right thing to do.
2) Make a firm commitment, preferably in writing. This prevents any fuzziness “around the edges” of the decision.
3) Let my will “lock down,” so that my desire finds it unfruitful to interfere.
This may not seem profound but it has profound consequences.
The best way to defeat the desire is to completely foreclose on its work.
To re-contextualize where the struggle takes place.
If you struggle in the process with particular temptation, you are fighting a dangerous and a likely losing battle.
But if you foreclose on temptation at the very beginning, you naturally remove all opportunity.
Opportunity only frustrates you, because you know that you cannot avail yourself of its temptation.