“One drink won’t kill you”.
“You only live once; you might as well enjoy it”.
“Life is too hard; you need to let your hair down now and again”.
“You can start again on Monday”.
“Everyone has at least one bad habit”
“Friday wouldn’t be Friday without a drink”.
“My gran smoked 20 cigarettes a day and lived until she was 80”.
“You need to die of something”.
Where did you hear that? Who told you that?
Why are you using someone else’s throwaway lines to justify continuing with a habit that you know is causing you harm and you want to stop.
You want to stop drinking but the thought floats into your mind, “one drink won’t kill you” and off you go, pouring your one drink that leads to a bottle and maybe a second bottle.
You are on a diet and the thought comes that life is too stressful, and you need a treat now and again to get you through the day, the words still in the air as you head to the fridge.
Why do we allow these thoughts that someone once said to us, or we read on social media to be stored away safely in our minds to be brought out and used against us when we are trying to get healthy and change our habits.
Our mind sends these thoughts into our awareness as a way of trying to keep us using our habit. Why? because it knows that our habit is our way of changing how we feel, it is our way of making ourselves feel better in the moment. Our mind does not want us to change our habits, because then it is not in control. So, it sends us thoughts stored in our memories that will encourage us to act out our habit and usually we just let them, we allow these thoughts to take away our power and our freedom to choose. But, they are only thoughts, they have no power, they are harmless and meaningless unless we act on them.
So, next time you are trying to change your habits and a thought floats by to encourage you to just have one as everyone needs to a treat on Saturday night. Ask yourself where did I hear that? Where did that belief come from?
Did I read it in a scientific journal and is it backed up by evidence or is it just a belief of a well-meaning colleague, partner, or friend? Is it a belief that you have now embedded into your own mind and repeat to other people?
If you did not read it in a scientific journal and there is no evidence to support this theory, then ask yourself, is it true?
How can you relax on a Friday night without alcohol? There is no scientific evidence that says that in order to be relaxed we must drink alcohol. In fact, the opposite is true. Alcohol does not relax you, you may have an initial feeling of relaxation because you have satisfied your craving to feed your Friday night habit, once you feed it, you feel better as the craving will have gone. It is also a drug and will have an effect on your brain’s chemistry.
After that initial feeling it is all downhill as your body immediately sets to work removing the alcohol from your body. It is fighting a losing battle however, as it is Friday night, and as you continue to drink through the evening your body tries again and again to get rid off it. Until you finally retire to bed and it can get to work to complete the clean up process giving you a disturbed sleep and a hangover in the morning.
True relaxation comes from our own body chemicals that are released in response to being in a relaxing situation. The problem is they do not work as fast as alcohol and we are always impatient to change how we feel immediately, right now, in this moment. So instead of coming home on a Friday and getting settled into an evening of good company or reading a good book or watching a movie and allowing the natural chemicals to give us a peaceful and contented relaxation, we rush for the alcohol to give us immediate gratification with long term health issues.
It is the same when we socialise, nobody likes to enter a room for the first time, we feel unsure and on guard until we get to know everyone and know that there is no danger, we can then relax and enjoy the evening. But, instead, a drink is immediately thrust into our hands and we have no time to let our mind do its job. Instead of a lovely relaxing evening among friends, we drink too much, perhaps do things we would not do without a drink and wake up with the dreaded hangover.
So, the next time you decide that enough is enough and you are going to change your habit, do not allow stray thoughts to knock you off course without first analysing the thought and asking yourself, where did I hear that? Is there any basis of truth in it? You can then challenge the thought and put in a counter argument e.g. What a stupid thought, whoever said that has no knowledge of the health impacts of alcohol.
Do not allow random unconscious thoughts to direct your life. Acknowledge them, analyse them, and then make your decision based on facts and evidence.