The “What, Why and How” of Moderation

From The Family Virtues Guide


What is Moderation?

Moderation is creating balance in your life. It means you don’t do the same thing all the time. Doing schoolwork all the time or playing al the time is not being moderate. Being moderate is studying enough and playing enough, working enough and resting enough. Moderation is stopping before you go overboard. It is using self-discipline to keep from overdoing.

Too little of something is as immoderate as too much. People who talk too much can be disruptive. People who don’t talk much as all get ignored, and when there is a discussion; their special way of thinking about things is missing.

Moderation is what keeps us from being blown about in the wind of our desires.

Why Practice Moderation?

Without moderation people go to one extreme or another. Either they ask for too much and then waste it, or deny themselves and don’t have what they need to grow healthy in body and spirit. Without moderation people can get swept away and damage themselves by things like drugs and alcohol.

Without moderation people can become greedy. Other people get mad when they take too much food, talk too much, hang around too much, or sleep too much. Without moderation people don’t do enough. Other people feel hurt when they don’t do their share of the work, won’t talk or don’t want to play because they are too tired.

Without moderation we can forget what enough means and overdo. We can start getting addicted to things and want more and more. Even things you like can hurt you if you have too much—like too much television, too much time on the computer or too much chocolate. When we have too much of something, we find ourselves out of control.

Moderation keeps us from being controlled by our desires. When we practice moderation, we create a sense of balance in out lives. With moderation we are much more likely to get what we actually need. When we practice moderation, other people feel benefit too.

How Do You Practice it?

You practice moderation by getting what you need—not too much and not too little. You don’t take more or less that you need of food, exercise, playtime, or sleep.

Learning your own limits is the first step of practicing moderation. What is too much or too little for you? People are different. For some people eight hours of sleep is too much; for some it is too little.

Then you practice wisdom and self-discipline to be sure that you get what you need. If you need nine hours of sleep to he healthy, make sure that you get those nine hours. Self-discipline helps you to stop yourself before this go too far. If eating six helpings of chocolate cake it past your limit, then maybe two would be kinder to your stomach (not to mention other cake eaters!)

What would moderation look like if…

  • You like someone so much that you start to call her up and hang around her house every single day?
  • You open the cookie jar and find your favorite cookies?
  • You stay up late on the computer then you feel sleepy in the morning?
  • You find you are spending all your free time playing a video game and don’t see your friends anymore?
  • You spend your whole allowance on chocolate bars and then it’s gone?

Signs of Success

Congratulations! You are practicing moderation when you…

  • Know when you need and get enough—no more, no less
  • Take care of your health by getting enough of what you need
  • Are content with enough
  • Use self-discipline to stop yourself from overdoing
  • Have a balance in your life between work and play
  • Know you own limits and set boundaries for yourself

Keep trying! You need more practice when you…

  • Don’t know what you need or how much
  • Get addicted to food, things, or people—want more and more
  • Ignore limits and rules
  • Do without what you really need
  • Get too greedy and don’t share with others


I am moderate. I am thankful and content to get what I need. Work and play are balanced in my life. I don’t overdo or underdo but find what’s just right for me.

Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.


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