By Lori Hanson
How many times have you tried to make changes in your life? and how many different ways have you tried to incorporate them? Can you count them on one hand, or do you need two? There are the tried and true methods, and people follow rituals or formulas for making changes in their lives. I believe that the key is finding the right method that will assist you at the time you need it. It isn’t always the same process. When setting goals and implementing changes in my life I’m always keenly aware of the definition of insanity = doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
How often is using the same process the game plan we use? Whether it’s losing weight, stopping smoking, starting an exercise program, being more patient, getting more organized, creating and following a schedule. More often than not, when we get ready to try again, we head down the same path. ESPECIALLY if it worked even once before. I know, I’ve been there and done that.
As promised in my last blog I’m going to share a personal journey I had with change that took more than a few years to get it right and make it stick. I’ve spent over 25 years studying brain function and the impact our thoughts, mindset and beliefs have on our ability to accomplish things in our lives. It truly fascinates me. Both the power of our brains and the lack of control we sometimes exercise over them. We are so easily fooled into thinking we have no choice, we’re stuck and have no willpower when it comes to giving something up that we really enjoy and know isn’t good for us. It’s easy to find all kinds of excuses why we can’t make it happen.
If you’re read my book, It Started with Pop-Tarts you know that after I stopped binging I merely shifted my numbing out exercise to drinking. It wasn’t until I started to write my book that I realized it. That’s why I call addiction, “The Whack-A-Mole” Syndrome. Until you connect with what’s at the core and deal with the root of the problem you just move the symptom over to something else. So once I got to the root of the problem and let it go I still had a life-long, deeply ingrained habit to deal with.
I’ve stopped drinking numerous times. Not because I had a problem with it. But because I could tell my body needed a break. The older I get, I just don’t process the alcohol very well (and it’s easier to keep my girlish figure without it). Over the past five years I’ve thought more and more about giving it up. Then I would think of all the situations where not drinking would be uncomfortable, the times when I just enjoy having a glass of wine and reminded myself that this was indeed, “my last remaining vice.” But in addition, to the fact that my body was tired of it, because I talk about the impact and destruction of sugar on our health and the Sugar Train when I speak, I felt I needed to cut the ties to vino.
Last fall I started experimenting, in numerous social situations I chose not to drink. Then I would compare how I felt physically and mentally over several days when I did indulge and when I didn’t. I gave myself time to process the differences and really get into the feeling of what being sugar-free would do or me. Each time I experimented, I went longer without it and the better I felt. So this time instead of setting some big goal or cut off…I just let myself BE in the new experience – I made it real. It became so inviting and tantilizing I wanted more of the new thing, the new way. And what was really interesting to me is that all the times I quit before and when I still wasn’t sure I was ready to, other people would rag on me to have a drink. But this time because I was happy in my decision, and comfortable with it not one person made a comment or asked why.
I decided to let it go. I walked away, moved forward and simply left the old pattern behind. The reward for doing so has been incredible. After being completely sugar-free for several weeks I discovered a new level of mental clarity, my days are much calmer, any cravings are merely blips and quickly pass. It turns out letting go of ego was one of the biggest parts to my success.
So if you’re contemplating making a change where you’re concerned what other people think or say. Or perhaps you’ve tried numerous times to lose weight, change a habit or don’t believe you can get to work on time go about it a different way. Experimence and try on the new habit and see how it feels. Then allow yourself to be in the comfortable old pattern and make a comparison. This is a process you need to do consciously. Write or journal about your experience and explore the details of what is happening. Reflection is a great tool for assisting you with making changes that may seem difficult, come to you easily.
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