One of the greatest lessons I have learned in life is that success comes from having a mission and following it. And this mission usually requires change.
Having a mission allows you to practice discipline and focus on what is most important to you. It makes it so much easier to set your priorities and know what you are spending time on and why. Having a mission guides your choices.
Let me give you an example.
Old Habits Can Die (And It Doesn’t Have to be Hard)
As of this year, I’ve been 8 years sober.
Back in the day, I considered Gordon and Stella to be my best friends and comfort. It was what I looked forward to after each day of work. They were my ‘reward’.
But I soon realised that alcohol was not providing what I really needed. They were my reward for putting up with life. That’s crazy, right?
Turns out Stella and Gordon were not a reward at all. They were an escape, a way for me to forget or at least put up with everything I wasn’t happy with in my life. What I actually needed was not a drink, it was to change my life.
And guess what? When I changed my life, I didn’t need Stella and Gordon any more.
The First Step To Any Goal
You see, when you first set a goal for yourself, it can be a little overwhelming. You don’t always know where to start or what steps to take.
The first step for me was knowing and accepting that things were going to change, that I was going to change, because if I wanted my life to change I had to do some things differently.
Naturally, we humans tend to fear change. And when we do change something, or life changes around us, it can cause doubt. The issue with doubt, is that it can affect the results.
For example, if I had kept on telling myself, ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘Maybe I shouldn’t give up alcohol for good’, then that is what I would have manifested. I can imagine it wouldn’t take long to get to the point where I’d be telling myself, ‘One wouldn’t hurt.’ Thoughts can be powerful.
The key is to understand WHY you want to achieve your goal, how it will benefit you and how you want to feel after you achieve the goal. Only then can you take the next step – planning out the process.
Knowing What Needs To Change
Part of my process was changing habits and routine. What was causing me to drink?
Work was a big influencer. Long days and stress often pushed me to drink, so I needed to re-evaluate my job and know what it was I wanted to do instead. I had to make it clear, not just to myself, but others, that I was taking this seriously.
When you set goals, you may have people who doubt you. Either they have seen you say you are going to lose weight/stop smoking/start exercising etc before and seen you not follow through on that.
Who Are You Going To Change WIth?
Maybe they are being negative from a place of genuine concern. Maybe they have seen you ‘fail’ before and want to ‘save you’ the pain of further failure. Possibly they genuinely believe that you turning vegan, or cycling to work, or following a Paleo diet, is likely to harm you and they don’t want you to put yourself at risk.
Or, perhaps they don’t really want you to stop smoking/lose weight/stop drinking etc, because it will change THEIR lives. I mean, if YOU lose weight, then they will no longer have their fat friend so they won’t look as good. Or if YOU start exercising, and they don’t, then THEY might feel worse about themselves.
People don’t like change, and they don’t want anything around them to change either. So they may subconsciously – or consciously – try to sabotage you. Knowing how you plan to respond to other people’s negativity will help you.
Another thing that will help is to surround yourself with people who want your goal to be achieved as much as you do. Friends who may offer to meet you somewhere else besides a pub, offer to do a daily walk with you or go with you to an exercise class.
Ready To Start?
Bear in mind that when you begin it will be unchartered water for you. You may have been down this path before (but not achieved what you wanted) or you may never have tried this particular path until now. Wither way, it’s going to be tough, no matter what the goal is.
Change is hard – even when you want it. But a commitment soon becomes a new habit. And at the end of the day, the door to new experiences and an improved life can only be opened by you.
It is also exciting to change your life. And it gives you so much more than you think. Initially it might be about losing weight, becoming an ex smoker or drinker, taking up running. But as you take daily steps down your new path, you gain confidence, self esteem and the realisation that the only thing that holds anyone back is their beliefs.
When you believe you can’t do something, you are right. When you believe life happens to you and you are a victim just trying to get through the day, you are right. And it is also true that when you believe you can and you have a big enough WHY, then you can achieve miraculous things. Like being 8 years sober!
Take One Day At A Time.
Don’t make the task too big in your head by thinking about more than just today.
My goal of not drinking hasn’t ended and I’m always going to be proud of and thankful for the progress I’ve made. And I will never forget the moment when I realised things needed and WERE going to change.
If you’d like to hear more about my mission and how I knew I had to make some tough decisions, have a listen to Carol Urry’s podcast ‘Kicking Habits’, where I share some vulnerable moments and personal advice. Click here to have a listen.
PS – If you liked this blog and want to read more blogs surrounding female empowerment, you can find last week’s here: ‘Life’s Numbers‘
“I’m on a global mission to help 10 million disheartened souls, who are at a crossroads, to STOP asking why me? And START saying why not me!”