Continued from yesterday….
That leads me to momentum. How do you keep the ball rolling?
It’s often so much easier to keep things going than to get them going, so if you’ve made it to this point, congratulations!!
There’s a saying in the 12 Step programs that goes “It’s easier to stay clean then to get clean again.” When you stop your addiction, it’s much easier to stay stopped, because you have the momentum to carry you forward.
At first, you’ll have some crazy thoughts, because you’ve built a habit of doing something unproductive, but it’s a habit nonetheless.
Your brain will try to trick you into going back to the comfort zone because it doesn’t like change.
Say you have a habit of getting ice cream whenever you drive by the ice cream shop that you’d like to stop.
The first time you drive by the shop without stopping in for a cone, it will be really difficult not to stop. You will need to remind yourself of the why you committed to.
The second time you drive by, the anxiety may still be there, but it’ll be a little easier.
It will get easier and easier the third and fourth times. Then one day you’ll realize you didn’t even look at the ice cream shop! You have built momentum for change.
The tricky part at this point though, is avoiding temptation or social pressure to go against your new habit.
Say you’re with a friend who really wants ice cream. He tries to convince you that you should have ice cream as well.
You know you’ve built this momentum to maintain a healthier lifestyle — maybe you’ve even lost some weight or had extra energy. You have seen the benefits of the change
you made. But you’re still tempted to go back to your own ways and have the ice cream, because one won’t hurt, right?
Ice cream may seem like a harmless example, but as someone who is overcoming diabetes herself, I know that not everything is as harmless as it seems. So, go with me on this example here.
You have two choices. You can feel confident in the momentum that you’ve built and decline the ice cream with your friend. Maybe you make an alternative suggestion and you two can go for a green smoothie instead. As much as you may want the ice cream, you must want the benefits of keeping the momentum more.
Because I guarantee you, if you make the second choice and decide to go and have the ice cream with your friend, yes, you’ll enjoy it, but the next time you pass that ice cream shop on your own, the old anxiety will likely come back.
While you may not be starting from square one, it won’t be as easy as if you’d stuck with your momentum.
It’s like my snow-shoveling example; once you get started, there will be much less resistance to continuing because you’ve proven to yourself you can do it.
Daily writing habits, daily gratitude lists, exercising and going to that work out class, meditating regularly—those habits all started somewhere, and continued with the decision to embrace the momentum.
If you fall off course, be gentle with yourself, and just get back into it. If you spend time beating yourself up for falling off the wagon, you will be much less likely to continue on where you previously had success. Know that everyone has indiscretions, slip ups, mistakes. You only fail when you stop trying.
So, get back up, give yourself credit for where you were before, and have confidence in the fact that you got there once before, so you know how to get there again, and you will be back in the flow of momentum soon.