As human beings we are not designed to live our lives lurching from one crisis to another, clinging onto a fast-moving rollercoaster as it takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of living in today’s fast-moving world. Life should be lived on a flat train track slowly meandering along with the minimum of bumps and bruises along the way.
The problem with living our lives on a rollercoaster is we start looking for something to help out, maybe just a little drink to get us through, and then at some point we discover that what we are using is bad for our health and isn’t really helping at all. We recognise that we need to stop, but now there are two problems:
- You are still clinging onto the roller coaster as if your life depended on it.
- You are trying to give up an addictive habit that you were using to ‘help’ you.
The problem you have now is that giving up a bad habit is never easy and while we remain fixated on getting rid of our bad habits, we are unable to figure out how our life is meant to be lived. We are unable to flatten our roller coaster into a train track.
If we are spending all our energy and time focusing on being on another diet, cutting down or quitting alcohol, stopping cigarettes or any other drug or destructive habit. We are unable to see the woods for the trees. We are using all our time, energy and focus looking in the wrong direction.
We are trying to solve all our problems, whether little worries or great big stresses by using something outside ourselves to get us through, to make us feel better in the moment. A short-term solution that doesn’t work and in many cases just make our problems worse.
We have financial worries, and we drink more, alcohol is very expenses and makes our financial problems worse, as does smoking, gambling, drugs.
We worry about how we look, we worry about our weight and to comfort ourselves we eat some more.
The instant gratification model of life, short term gain for additional longer-term pain.
It is only by letting go of trying to solve our problems by using something that we think is the solution but is only making the situation worse that we can finally use our time and energy to sort all the areas of our life in such a way that we no longer have any need to self soothe, we no longer need to try and change our brain chemistry artificially in order to get by.
We are not meant to live our lives just getting by, we are meant to be at peace with ourselves, taking and living each moment as it arrives.
When we can free ourselves of our usual way of coping with life’s ups and downs, then we smooth them out, life becomes calmer and we now have the time to focus on solutions, instead of running away and hiding behind your habit of choice, we can think clearer and see a way through to the solution. Not all solutions work first time, some problems are bigger than others, but they stop being catastrophes. They just become part of your life’s rich tapestry.
So, what comes first stopping your habit or sorting your life? Only by getting off the habit merry go round can you start to see clearly and to focus on changing your life.
Changing our life happens one step at a time, it is an upward spiral of improvements, as we change one area we see clearer the other areas that need to be changed. We start to understand who we are and get clear on what we want in life. We can see our future goals and make our plans, we can create the life we want to live, but first we must stop seeking instant gratification in the form of food, drink, drugs gambling etc. They don’t work and it’s only by giving up you see that they don’t work, they never did, and they never will. You can drink all the alcohol you want, but if you have a problem, you will still have the problem the next day.
If you want to lose weight then diets don’t work, I know many people who have spent most of their adult life on a diet, trying any new fad diet that comes along. If you want to lose weight then you need to change your life.
“If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got.”
What areas of your life do you need to change?
- CHANGE your life not just your habit.
You won’t give up a habit if the only thing you do is stop doing what you are doing and do not change any other aspect of your life. When you give up a bad habit you leave a void that must be filled and that is where you focus your energy. Find new hobbies, new skills, new things to learn. Go back to your childhood and find your passion. Re-discover things you always wanted to learn or do, but life got in the way, and you never had time. Now you will have time, all the time you devoted to doing something you never wanted to, you can now do something that not only do you really want to do, but you can lose yourself in the discovery of new things.
2. FOCUS on where you are going, not on where you have been.
Stop focusing on what you are giving up and focus on what you are adding into to the new life you are creating. When you mind drifts back to sweet treats, alcohol, cigarettes, then notice what it is happening, turn yourself to face the other direction and see your habit behind you, and your new hobbies, your new life in front of you.
3. THOUGHTS cannot control you unless you give them permission.
When thoughts of your old habits drift by, then just allow them to drift away. They cannot affect you, unless you allow them to. To do this you need to make a decision to grab hold of them, but that is not who you are any more, so just let them go. Acknowledge them, don’t try and not to think about your old habit, that will only cause madness. Allow the thoughts to drift in and float away, say hello to your old habit as it floats on by. Then change your thinking to what you will do with all your new time, your new freedom. What the new you will do to enrich your life.
4. JOURNEY to the discovery of your new life and the new you.
We do not transform our lives overnight, which is why promises of miracle diets and cures do not work. We change our lives one step at a time. It is a journey to be enjoyed, a journey of discovery or rediscovery as we uncover who we were before we became hooked on the instant gratification of our habits to get us through life.
It is a journey of discovery to the person you now want to be only limited by your own imagination. The enjoyment comes in the journey as each day and each step we take we uncover new things about ourselves, and we find new ways of living this wonderful life we have been given. Free from short term fixes and mind-altering substances.
5. NATURAL HIGHS are 100 times better than any artificial substance.
Once we stop using artificial substances to give get us through life and give us little highs we discover that our brain is perfectly capable of making us feel wonderful without any negative side effects. Once we stop using sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, drugs to change the chemical balance then over time our brain will start to function the way it is meant to and feel-good chemicals will be released naturally leaving you feeling calm, peaceful, and contented. Get out into nature, walk in the countryside, watch the tide ebbing and flowing, go to the gym or find an exercise to get your body moving, cuddle a loved one, pet an animal, hold your child’s hand, and feel, really feel how wonderful you can feel with nothing more than your own body and your mind coming together.
6. SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
Find your own way of connecting to yourself, taking time out to explore who you are and who you want to become now the habits are gone. Meditation is a lovely daily practice that can take just 10mins a day, but if it’s not for you, sit in nature, watching a plant or a tree and lose yourself in the beauty of mother nature. Give yourself 10 minutes a day when you sit and do nothing. Don’t say you don’t have time, you had time to drink alcohol, smoke or eat chocolate cake, there is your time.
7. EAT HEALTHY FOOD
Change what you eat, the word diet no longer exists. If losing weight is what you want to do then get rid of processed food, and don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients. If you do not know what the ingredients are don’t buy it, it probably isn’t even food. Eat as much wholefoods as you can in the form of fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, and pulses. The more wholefoods you eat the less room there is for bad foods. What we eat either adds to our life, our energy, improves our mood and our health. Or it can slowly kill us.
8. LIFE AUDIT
Check out other areas of your life to ensure that there is nothing hidden that will drag you back to your old habits. Drop what you no longer need, we don’t need to carry on doing things we don’t want to do. Stop saying yes to everything, stop feeling like you need to please everyone. This is your life, you only live it once, and it’s important that you are happy, healthy and that living every moment of every day is a pleasure.