Five Important Steps to Help you Kick a Habit

You don’t realize how engrained in a habit you are until you stop it.

Candace and I drink alcohol. Mainly beer and mostly IPA’s.

We drink when we’re listening to live music, out to dinner, socializing at parties and events, and sometimes when we stay home and cook.

Which means we drink most days of the week. Not a lot each day but enough.

Candace called me two Mondays ago and suggested we do an alcohol reset and stop drinking for two weeks. Sure. Why not. We have done it before and the last time was for nearly a month.

A big difference with last time is that we had prepared for it and chose a time where we could pretty much go off grid. We mostly stayed home and didn’t venture out because what was the point? We couldn’t drink.

Isn’t that interesting? Choosing to stay in rather than experience life just because we couldn’t drink!?

We didn’t prepare ahead this time and we had a lot of upcoming events so it wasn’t an option to stay in our safe little home bubble. We had to be out in the alcohol elements and be tempted by it a lot.

What did we learn?

We associate a lot of activities with drinking and we were challenged several times during the course of the 14 days. But we proved that we can go out and enjoy life without drinking. Yeah! Success!

What benefits did we realize:

  • Better sleep
  • We lost some weight
  • Felt better and more energized
  • We saved a lot of money!
  • We ate healthier and less
  • Felt proud of ourselves for staying accountable

The first time we did this no drinking thing it was hard and we had to create a non-temptation bubble to get through it. This time was still challenging but easier AND we up-leveled the experience by living our regular lives.

Every time you challenge yourself in this way it gets easier and easier to move into a broader comfort zone and puts you back in the power position of objectively evaluating how you want to proceed moving forward.

Maybe you realize so many benefits you drop the habit all together. Maybe you make positive shifts but won’t choose to eliminate it totally. Or perhaps you choose to do periodic resets to stay fresh and empowered.

I challenge you to commit to a reset!

What is something you do a lot that could use some reevaluation?

Some ideas: Shopping/spending, drinking, cussing, being negative, eating _____, smoking, sitting on the couch, Facebook, saying ‘yes’

What habits are keeping you in patterns that aren’t adding to your growth or happiness?

I challenge you to pick one to eliminate for 2-3 weeks and here are five important steps to help you kick a habit:

  1. Call it an experiment! It helps you to be more objective and keeps you focused on evaluating the outcome just like a scientist would do. And guess what? If you don’t like the results of your experiment (not likely!) you can always go back to what you already know, right? Or figure out a happy medium :)
  2. Pick a shortish time frame for your experiment –– two or three weeks. It allows you to wrap your head around it and accomplish it vs. the mistake we often make thinking we have to change a habit forever.
  3. List out some benefits you think will happen, it’s a fun trick to keep you focused on the positives. At the end you can see how many of them match up and you’re often surprised by additional ones you didn’t even think of!
  4. Figure out how you plan to commit and do it no matter what. Often times keeping things black and white for a while (No drinking, no exceptions for 14 days) is a good thing because it allows you to keep it simple and eliminates the gray (and more complicated) areas. Plus you have solid data to evaluate at the end.
  5. What perceived benefit do you get from the habit you want to drop? How can you replicate that benefit or rethink it? My example: One of my perceived benefits with alcohol is that it’s a way to have a good time. I chose to reframe what it means to have a good time and then found evidence for that when I went out. It worked :)

Caution: Be mindful that you’re not replacing one habit with another not-so-good one. Example: You choose to quit smoking for two weeks so don’t replace the hand-to-mouth benefit with eating cake! Chew on a straw, chew gum, or eat carrots instead.

Approaching habit changes with this positive approach makes the whole experience so much kinder and rewarding because you’re not focusing on what you’re giving up. You’re focusing on what you’re getting and how you’re growing.

Do you want to accept my challenge? What do you commit to doing? Leave me a comment for added accountability!