Walking through the scattered auburn leaves I stare down at my feet as they move through the golden carpet autumn has laid. I’ve put my gloves on for the first time in a long time, and couldn’t be more grateful for the coat I’m pulling closer around me. As this new season starts, I can’t help but think about change, about letting go. It can seem almost sad, that the tree’s shed their dazzling green coats every year, stripped back to the bare branches, but it makes it all the more beautiful when spring comes and they are adorned in new colors once again. It seems, as I meander through life, that is a truth that holds true for all of us. Letting go to make way for the new is not only important but quintessential for progress, your own self development and for creating a beautiful, gold-tinted life.
So in the air of this new season I have chosen to let go of one of the vices many of us hold dear- alcohol, for a 10-week period. It can be all too easy to slip into the nightly glass (or three) or vino, and I was starting to see a habit developing.
The thing about habits is that:
it is just as easy to create bad ones as it is to create a positive habit.
Now I don’t know about you, but the sounds of ‘giving up’ something doesn’t really appeal to me. It feels like right from the outset it will be challenging, require a lot of willpower and may result in me banding my head against a wall. Giving up just doesn’t sound fun.
So here lies piece of advice number one:
When trying to ‘out’ a bad habit, you need to have something else to replace it with.
Hence the second part of my challenge:
By the end of my 10 weeks of sobriety I will endeavor a 10K run. So now my nightly glass of wine is replaced by building up my stamina for a 10K run, starting with just a couple of kilometers a week and increasing slowly.
Now comes two very important steps in the change process:
Make a public commitment to your change.
Do it for something larger than you- find a big enough WHY.
Point 1 is vital, because it means you can’t chicken out a few days in (well you can but you’re a lot less likely too). I’ve committed to this a publicized it on Facebook and Twitter as well as to all of my friends. This means you’ll have their support to keep going, and the fear of public judement if you mess up! Always a fun motivator!
Part 2 is for those moments when you feel weak. When everything inside of you wants to quit. When that little voice says ‘well just one wont hurt’. I’m sure all of us have had the experience of making a resolution, and then falling off the wagon within a few weeks of well meaning effort. We’re only human, it’s ok to mess up some times. But to give yourself a fighting chance of success, you need to have a big enough why which keeps you steady every time you think why not?
My motivation was doing my dedication as a fundraising effort for the Alzheimer’s Society. It’s something I feel totally passionate about. Find something that motivates you, a charity, a family member going through a hard time or even yourself if you feel that will be enough!
Knowing that for every day I stick to this, people are donating to support this charity and help people going through something like Alzheimer’s, keeps my perspective clear and the wine bottle corked!
So what is it that you need to let go of? An emotional reflex- anger, blame, stress? Or maybe a bad habit- smoking, over/under eating, drinking? Sometimes it’s just a hidden activity such as complaining or gossip, that though simple, can have a profound effect on our life.
If you feel there’s nothing you need to or want to let go of, maybe take up a new activity- meditating, yoga, cycling, reading- anything that really adds to the quality of your life long term.
The choice is up to you. This is your life after all, no one else can live it, no one else is responsible for making these decisions for you. Find your why, redesign your life, and make it your masterpiece.
So as the leaves crunch below my now slightly chilled feet, I look around and I can see there is actually something so beautiful about this season. Sometimes what appears to be a loss, is simply nothing but a change; creating the space for something new, something beautiful.
If you would like to support the Alzheimer’s Society and my fundraising efforts please click the link below to donate.