Will change ever really happen?
In January of 2017, I decided I had to quit drinking, so I thought I’d just go ahead and stop.
Anyone that’s ever tried to change an ingrained behavior can go ahead and laugh now.
Because it’s not that you don’t know what to do, of course. It’s that the execution is harder than it seems.
“I want to lose weight, but I love eating chocolate chip cookie dough.”
“I want to stop drinking, but I like having that 9pm beer to unwind.”
“I want to stop yelling at my kids, but they keep doing dumb sh*t.”
And on and on, across any type of behavior, big and small.
I did quit drinking.
In September 2017. That’s nine months after I made the decision to quit. I did a bunch of stuff to make it stick (read about a a few of those things here), and it seemed like it took FOREVER.
Recently I was looking back through an old notebook, where I came across one of those exercises that would supposedly help me quit.
The assignment was to write a few paragraphs about how my life would look on an ideal day if I’d already achieved my goal of not drinking. I remember thinking that it sounded hokey and stupid and embarrassing, but I was pretty desperate, so I wrote this:
I wake up so energetic and happy. It’s amazing not to be hung over today! I feel so creative and ready to tackle everything that needs to get done today. I have space in my heart for empathy and to think of others. All day, I smile. In the evening, I relax with a sparkling water and a book. Or maybe I watch a little TV with the kids, then I tuck them in bed. Then, I’m in bed myself by 10pm.
When I went back and read that here in 2019, I had two simultaneous thoughts:
1. That it sounds like the most boring thing for a person to wish for.
It makes me feel a little sorry for that lady whose dearest heart’s wish was to have a normal day.
2. That it is how my life now looks.
It makes me really grateful for my now-regular life.
Which brings me to a couple thoughts for you:
If you want to make change in your life, you definitely can, whether that’s quitting drugs or dancing more. Anything is possible.
You will likely be in direct conflict with yourself when you start – i.e. you will want to do one thing, but will actually do another. Keep working through it.
Change will take longer than you want but will also happen before you know it.
Try everything. Even if it seems hokey or dumb (like writing out an ideal day of the future!).
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