Do or die.

Your Personal Austerity Program, a story in last week’s New York Times magazine planted a powerful story in my mind.

Alexander the Great’s supreme strategist, Xenophon, suggested that a commander can strengthen his position by fighting next to a dangerous cliff. His soldiers have but two choices, fight or die. His opponent had a third option: to flee.

Dieters and others breaking habits need to stand by the cliff and not indulge in fantasies peddled by diet bars, green-coffee-bean-extract, and Diet Coke. There is no “one last cigarette.” Retreat has no place in winning wars.

Strengthen your position by closing off your options.

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