“Either run the day or the day runs you.” — Jim Rohn
You know the feeling you get when everything goes wrong? I’m talking about a day when everything blows up in your face and every vice roars with a vengeance.
When was the last time it happened to you? Did you feel better the next day, or did you dig deeper into your cravings?
Ever attempt to make a better choice just to see if you could and then failed miserably?
I’ve been there. A half bottle of Jack and an ultimate bacon cheeseburger used to be my idea of heaven… until it wasn’t.
But I got sick of having zero energy and watching my fading accomplishments in the rearview mirror.
Then I stumbled on a few powerful techniques to lose over forty pounds and quit alcohol for life.
Are you ready to face your demons head-on and give them the final one-two punch they deserve? Ready to regain control and live the life you know you were born to live?
To do that, you must first…
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda
The moment you decide to break your chains is the moment you begin to live.
Deciding and acting are two separate things, but both will fail if you don’t fully commit.
Commitment requires you shatter your excuses and take responsibility. If you want to find an excuse, you will. But if you want to succeed, you’ll take Extreme Ownership and choose to find solutions instead of obstacles.
Commitment demands 110%. There is no middle ground. Commitment is the determination to get up when you fall flat on your face and the courage to ignore people when they laugh at you.
With true commitment, you don’t quit. You stumble and reflect. You fall, and then you learn to step over those obstacles the next time they appear.
Evidence shows those with a community of like-minded individuals are more likely to succeed in kicking bad habits.
Sharing your desire makes it real and reinforces the commitment in your subconscious mind. It also provides added support through accountability.
They’ll keep you from making deals with yourself, and you’ll learn from their experience and failures.
The key to finding a good community is to seek out people who’ve already succeeded and have a life like the one you want to live.
You don’t have to join a support group, but you should find a mentor or someone you respect to regularly discuss your goals and progress.
Research & plan
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” — Abraham Lincoln
I wish a short seven-minute article could list every technique for all your cravings. But don’t let that stop you from taking a few minutes to search what other successful people have done in your situation.
Once you discover the techniques for your situation, list the steps you’ll take to keep from acting on those craving when they occur.
Expect the times you think they’ll happen. Have your attack plan ready.
List several different strategies you plan to use. Don’t have just one. Be ready to use another or try different combinations if one fails in isolation.
You should also find several supports for when you get an urge and need immediate help. Look for hotlines, chat lines, or Facebook groups. Once you have a list, keep them handy for when you need them.
You won’t succeed all the time, but you don’t have to. Keep at it. persist.
Routine: Habits and brain chemistry go a long way in explaining your cravings and how to beat them.
Your brain uses a lot of energy. It uses habits and routines to reduce what it needs.
When you’ve developed a bad habit, specific cues will trigger behavior. It’s the same reason you can drive home while thinking about something else.
Use the science of habits in your favor. Identify the routines and habits that lead to your cravings and create new positive ones to take their place.
I knew alcohol reduced my willpower for ordering pizza, which was one of the reasons I chose to give up alcohol when I decided I wanted to lose weight. One behavior contributed to another.
You don’t have to quit alcohol or give up your sacred cows, but you will have to identify your habits and routines so you know where to improve.
If you open the refrigerator the moment you get home, create a new behavior in its place. One that won’t lead to you polishing off that three-pound tub of ice cream or pouring that first glass of wine.
The secret to creating lasting habits is small and sustainable actions, things you could do for life. Repeat those behaviors daily. Don’t let yourself off the hook. Don’t just make a to-do list. Schedule them on your calendar.
Chemistry: Chemicals and certain behavior create dependency and habit. Different foods, drugs, and activities release endorphins and dopamine that reinforce behaviors.
Exercise releases endorphins, so it takes the edge off when you get certain cravings. One technique I used when I decided to quit alcohol was to do pushups whenever I got the urge to drink.
Whenever I was in a situation where pushups weren’t possible (like driving in a car), I would flex my muscles and repeat it several times.
When I got home and sat in front of the television, I chose to grab a Greek yogurt instead of a Jack and Coke. The dairy tip came from the hotline I called the one time I broke down and gave in.
I later discovered dairy releases dopamine. It helped create a new habit and routine that crowded out the negative behavior of a few too many drinks.
Select a few dopamine or endorphin-releasing behaviors to use the next time you get a craving. Don’t trade one vice for another, but have a few lines of attack ready in case one is more effective.
If you focus on what you can’t have, that’s all you’ll think about. Instead, visualize the outcome you want from your new behavior.
It helps if you use your five senses to recall an intense emotion from a positive memory.
Spend time imagining the sights, sounds, and tastes when that memory occurred. How did the air feel against your skin? Do you remember how the rush of adrenaline felt as it spread throughout your body?
Next, picture what you want. Imagine having the same emotion and feeling once you’ve achieved your goal.
Repeat the visualization activity between your required behavior and your desired result. If you choose to do five pushups or flex your muscles whenever you get a craving, imagine yourself doing the exercise.
Imagine the positive feeling you’ll get once you’ve achieved your ideal outcome. Create a mental association between the positive behavior and the desired result.
Don’t focus on what you can’t have. Focus on what you can, what you’ll do, and what you want.
Reflect & Adjust
You won’t succeed without a few hiccups. When they occur, learn from them.
Reflect daily and weekly on your actions. When things work, take note. Keep doing them. When they don’t, identify the patterns and cues that tripped you up. If one strategy doesn’t work, try another or in combination with something else.
Celebrate your wins. Each night, write one thing that went well, even if it was just the fact you took the time to reflect on your day.
Find an accountability partner. Discuss with them your reflections and strategies moving forward. Talk with them at least weekly if possible.
Research shows an accountability partner dramatically increases your chance of achieving your goals.
“You can’t fall if you don’t climb. But there’s no joy in living your whole life on the ground.” — Unknown
What good is it to learn to read if you don’t. What’s the sense in reading if you don’t apply? Why apply if you don’t see it through?
The final step is acting on what you know. Most people who want to change let apathy and fear keep them from trying. Are you going to be one of those people? Or will you act today to crush your cravings and control your destiny?
Your future is up to you. You can start by scheduling your first planning session in your calendar right now.
Call To Action
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