“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ―Thomas Edison
Its one of many quotations I could have thrown at you to illustrate the many inspiring messages we are all given to remind us not to give up when we feel we are done.
This is the time of year when our resolve can slip, all the best laid plans and intentions can go up in smoke, and this year especially, after there was so much hope for a ‘fresh new 2021’. Like me, you probably saw many social media posts from people admitting that at 8.05pm after Boris Johnson’s speech last week declaring the new lockdown, that was the end of Dry January for them, despite being determined at 8pm, the news meant they reached for the bottle five minutes later.
When we ‘resolve’ to do something, we’re almost always doing it because we feel we must, or we ‘should’. Many people are doing Dry Jan, or ditching sugar, or cigarettes,because they know how bad the alternative is. They’ve done the research and know that ultimately continuing the way they have will mean that they get what they’ve always gotten….
So we grit our teeth and commit. We aim to use strong willpower to ‘crack this’ and we go headlong into our month of deprivation. That’s all very well till something trips us up, it might be another person, literally or metaphorically, it might be our own emotions, it might be that something happens (like another lockdown when we weren’t expecting it) that tips us back to our old behaviours.
It’s incredibly common for people to step away from Gym memberships by the middle of January, (in years when gyms are open!) Its very common to start drinking again after ten days of Dry Jan, to mainline the sugary biscuits despite committing to a sugar free month. I’m sad to say several members have left The Sober Club, some only a few days after joining. Whats the reason? Because we are human, because our unconscious mind HATES to feel deprived, because willpower per se doesn’t work.
We’ve all watched toddlers start to work, topple over, and then just get right back up till they ‘succeed’. The real issue isn’t the fact that we ‘tripped up’, that’s entirely natural and understandable, it’s the way we respond to our own behaviour. Mostly we see it as ‘failure’ and berate ourselves for being useless, hopeless, a lost cause, and we ‘beat ourselves up’ and sometimes ‘retreat’ into isolation because facing up to ourselves feels too painful.
Whats the key to making a success of whatever you are trying to achieve?
There are a couple of key factors.
* One is having the motivation. Its knowing your WHY. Ask yourself WHY you want to ditch the booze? …quit sugar, stop smoking…What difference will it make to your life if you achieve your goal?
* Two – How do you respond? If you do trip up, do some ‘detective work’, ask yourself what happened and be willing to learn from the experience, and then – with renewed positivity, re-up and get back on the horse. Its all part of the learning curve. Be willing to accept your own imperfections.
Instead of moaning, groaning and wallowing in our guilt and shame and despair, lets be proud that we caught the vision, and got started in the first place, celebrate the small wins, pat ourselves on the back for noticing and being willing to try again.
There is no such thing as failure – only learning!
When the time is right something will ‘click’, and all the preparation you have done along the way will pay off. No sober days are ever wasted! Who cares if you’ve had hundreds of ‘Day 1’s’?
Most of us have heard of ‘sober shamers’ but actually we shame and blame ourselves far more than others ever would.
When someone posted recently that they were leaving our group due to the way they were feeling about their ‘relapse’, they got lots of love-bombing and support, but one response summed it up..’
‘Don’t leave the sober club! Even if you are not ready to ditch the booze yet you will get a lot of positivity from this group, which may well get you to the point of being able to achieve the sobriety you seek. Stop embracing failure and soak up the positive vibes!’
So whatever is going on for you right now, if it feels tough, hang on in there, accept your imperfections and focus on your why, become curious as to how it might be better next time.
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