Dear Joy! My wishes are to stop smoking and drinking and lose weight. My doctor has told me I have to but I can’t ever seem to keep my resolve, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and I soon slide back into old habits, then feel even worse about myself and eat and drink and smoke to make myself feel better. How do I stop this cycle before it kills me? I’ve already had one heart attack. Desperate.
Dear Desperate. I’m sure you’ve noticed that doing something because your doctor or anyone else wants you to, is never as powerful as doing something because YOU want to. How willing is your spirit really? How much do you want to be healthy?
This is especially true when it comes to things as addictive as drinking, smoking and bad eating habits. Even the thought of giving them all up at the same time is overwhelming. Your flesh isn’t necessarily weak; you just stacked the cards against you in trying to change your entire life all at once.
Let’s begin by establishing how you really feel about your health. You are clear that you are currently choosing a lifestyle that will probably kill you, for a lot of people that’s an equally valid choice. They rightly figure they are going to die of something.
Other people get a glimpse of what that death might be like and it prompts them to make different choices. Which category you are in? If it is this second category I suggest you begin by looking at why you over eat and drink and smoke. These things are often symptoms of an underlying emotional cause.
Start by splitting up the vices and looking at them separately, I know they are tied together, that the desire to reach for a cigarette when you are having a drink for example, is probably greater than when you aren’t drinking, but for the sake of your sanity, let’s tackle them one at a time right now.
Which is your greatest health risk? Which do you want most to stop? Which one would make you feel best about quitting? Are the answers to these questions the same?
Now write down the answers to the following questions to get further clarity on how you feel and what you really want to do. Don’t just think about it; actually write it down, seeing it in black and white makes a huge difference.
Who would you be and what would you be doing if you didn’t drink and smoke and over eat?
Go really deeply into this, imagine it clearly, who would you be? What would you look like? How would you feel? What would you be able to do?
Be honest, on a scale of 1 – 100, how much do you want this?
When do you find yourself smoking and drinking and over eating the most?
What does it give you?
What else could you do that would offer you that same gift?
It takes fortitude and determination to make the decision to lead what amounts to a very different life style. You can’t continue doing the things that support these habits and expect not to slide back into them. You need to think about what you would rather be doing and focus all of your attention on doing that.
If you are really serious about changing your life, consider booking a session with me, but do all of the above exercises first, because they will help you to know what you really want, and why.