Today I want to talk about the process of change and discomfort, and how much discomfort you’re going to go through.
Change is difficult.
Getting from the person that you are now to the person you want to be, getting from the life that you have now to the life that you want to have, getting from the bank account that you have now to the bank account that you want to have, to the amount of money that you want to have, to the health that you want to have, getting from the position that you are now to the position that you want to be takes effort.
Some of that effort is going to be difficult.
There are many different ways to look at this.
There are different times that you’re going to go through, the first few weeks of change are going to be the toughest in terms of the amount of time and energy you have to put into it.
Especially when you’re talking about habits; habits are built around subconscious actions that are automatically performed over and over again.
The more you perform these habits, the more embedded the habits become, the more embedded the behaviour becomes.
So, when you’re changing habits, good or bad, the brain can’t really differentiate between the two, your subconscious brain.
Your conscious brain might do, you understand consciously that this habit is bad, that habit is not so bad, this habit that you want to get rid of that’s causing you problems in your life and this one is not.
We often come to these conclusions after something has happened.
We are motivated by either pain or pleasure.
So, if you’re getting more pleasure out of doing something than pain, then you’re likely going to stick to that.
My goal with all of these videos is to show you that life without alcohol is much more pleasurable, that what you consider pleasurable in this moment in comparison to what you can achieve, the delights that you have once you stop drinking, that the pleasure now is only tiny in comparison to what the pleasure can be, and to build on the pain.
Not for now, you might not be going through pain now.
I’m talking about the pain of your future self.
I always encourage you to think about your future self, to sit down and imagine what your life is going to be like in ten years if you don’t stop.
Most people won’t stop now because they’re not getting enough of that pain at the moment, and a lot of people will come to the stage where they have a painful experience that is so painful, and I’m not talking about a physical pain, a mental pain.
That’s where I was, that experience of seeing my son over that Christmas-time walking along the beach after we’d had a lot to drink the night before.
And I thought to myself ‘is this what it boils down to every time my son comes down?
This is the person I am, going out and drinking and not remembering anything and the holiday goes by in the bat of an eyelid.
He’d just been over, and we did so much when he was over.
I’ve turned into the person that I wanted to be back then.
Oh it’s so good and emotional now because just thinking of it, I feel joy, I feel overwhelmed with that.
I can’t understand what got me to that position where I was before, when I was encouraging all those things.
He still drinks as I say, but I’m not encouraging this stupid drinking anymore.
I’m showing him a different aspect.
He was just over like I said, with his girlfriend.
We spent two great days in Valencia, and for the rest of the week that he was over, we just had a great time. We did a lot of things.
We went out and ate a lot but it was all really good food, healthy and good food.
It was all weight gaining food but it was healthy.
And now he’s going back and I’ve got memories of the whole thing.
It was just a great week and I’m sure that the next time he comes over it’s going to be the same thing.
I’m sure he feels it as well.
He feels that things are so much better since I stopped drinking, and that’s my masterplan.
That’s what I’m going to do, this is my whole dream, it’s to show him that this is the possibility when you don’t drink, that there’s an alternative, there’s something different out there to look at, and that something different is always going to be better than the sameness of drinking.
Because when it boils down to it, that’s what all drinking ever was, sameness.
Same drinking, same alcohol, same taste, same bars, same hangover.
The hangovers might get worse over the years but you don’t notice it because it’s a gradual process. You only notice it when you think of it and you’re like ‘Jesus, my hangover has lasted two days now instead of a full day, it has lasted a full day now instead of just a morning’, you start thinking ‘I need more alcohol now to get me to the same position I was before’.
So, the point of this whole video is that habit change is difficult in the beginning.
The idea of you quitting drinking is very simple, you stop drinking.
Once you don’t drink again, there is no going back, there’s no way around that, it’s just finished.
But it’s all the rest of the time, it’s the framework that has been holding up your habit all these years, they’re the things that are going to be difficult to change because that’s what you’re used to doing.
You’re used to hanging around the same people, same pubs, same environment.
It’s this consistent feeling of comfort that you have to rip yourself away from.
We all like comfort and don’t like discomfort, so that’s where the difficulty is going to lie.
But it’s all worth it because if you don’t do it now, you’re going to have to do it in the future and it’s going to be more difficult in the future.
When you say ‘I don’t want to do it now, I’ll do it tomorrow’, well, tomorrow never comes.
My attempts at quitting smoking, I tried and tried over and over and over again to quit smoking, and every time I failed.
I couldn’t deal with it because I couldn’t deal with the discomfort that I was feeling in that moment.
And that discomfort for me was about what we used to call ‘gumming for a fag’, I’d be dying for a cigarette and I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I had to push through, and I did push through.
I went for a month sometimes, 6 months, I think I went for a year at one stage, but most of the time it was only for a short period of time.
2 or 3 days and then I’d go back on them again.
I’d just tell myself I wasn’t ready for it yet.
Or I’d kid myself that taking a cigar was an alternative. I’d say ‘a cigar is not really smoking because I’m not inhaling’.
I used to tell myself that I wasn’t inhaling, just like Bill Clinton, but I was.
I’d be sat there pulling in all the cigars and inhaling everything, and still tell myself ‘ah no, I’m not inhaling’
Look, the benefits of quitting drinking far outweigh any benefits of staying drinking.
Psychological benefits, health benefits, whatever you think are benefits.
I’ve gone through all this, making excuses and not stopping, saying ‘this is part of my life, this is who I am.
If I didn’t drink, I wouldn’t be the person I am now’.
No shit, I’m so glad I’m not that person anymore.
Looking back at that person, unfit, unstable.All the things I’m glad I got away from now, I got away from because I stopped drinking.
Pure and simple.
One of the biggest mistakes we make about drinking is to look at quitting drinking as getting to that stage where you don’t want to drink anymore.
I’m at that stage now and I probably was after 6 months, but as you go along, you sort of understand that the more you go into it, the further you get away from alcohol, the less you want to drink.
The more you build life around not drinking alcohol, the more pleasure you get after that life, the less you want to go back and drink alcohol.
It’s a natural progression.
But in the beginning, you don’t see any of that, all you see is where you are now and the end goal that you want to be.
That’s the whole problem, because the whole journey for you to get to that stage, and there is no definitive stage, you’re at one position one minute and then you’re at the next.
One year down the road, you pass through your one year milestone and you’re automatically thinking differently.
It doesn’t work like that.
It’s a gradual process.
It takes time, it’s dynamic.
It takes one small change after another.
Every day you don’t drink builds on your future life.
It adds strength to your future and it weakens your past.
So every day that you don’t drink flips the birdie at your past and pulls you towards your future.
This is all about dynamic, one day after another progress.
It’s a slow progress, but it’s a moment by moment progress.
It’s something that everybody can handle if they take it in those small chunks.
If you look at your long term goal, it can be very easy to be overwhelmed by the whole thing because it seems like an insurmountable hurdle that you’ve got to go through.
But, even the momentary cravings that you get, the times that you think to yourself ‘am I doing the right thing? I really want to have a drink, I really want to go out with this group and have fun like they’re having, and I’m not having any fun’.
That is the toughest time because you’re in the moment and you’re surrounded by temptation, you’re feeling very uncomfortable in the person who you are, and you know all you need is to have one drink or a couple of drinks and just forget about this one night and you can ease that pain and that discomfort.
But as soon as you do that, you’re defeating yourself.
So you have to take this as one little victory after another.
You get up every morning and you say to yourself ‘this is another great day. I’m never going back’.
There are a lot of tricks I can teach you – obviously not today – to try and get you through those little spikes, those daily spikes, those little moments when you’re tempted.
Anyway, if you have any comments about this, leave them down in the comments below, any comments at all.
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This is just one of the 365 videos that I’m challenging myself to do this year.
It’s a personal challenge. It’s going to be tough but I’m up for it because I want to see how this turns out, I want to see what happens when I do 365 videos from a personal point of view, from what I learn about myself and my own videos.
It’s all a process, and I looked at this thing as ‘365 videos? That’s a massive challenge’, and it’s hard not to think about it like this sometimes, but it’s just a day by day thing.
I don’t make videos every day, I walk every day, about 15 km, and I can do 2 or 3 videos a day, 4 even, just on this one walk.
That’s the way I deal with it.
That’s the way to progress in life with anything you want to do, any task you want to get done, any goal that you want to achieve, you have to do it in step by step movements.
That’s the only way you can do it.
You can’t take that big jump so there’s no point in thinking about it like that.
You have to take the end goal that you want to get to, break that down into smaller chunks, and then break those down into smaller chunks and just do it bit by bit.
Break down into the most manageable chunks that you can break them down to, even if that’s daily or half day goals or whatever you need to do to get forward and to take that forward momentum, do that.
THE SECRET OF CHANGE IS TO FOCUS YOUR ENERGY NOT ON FIGHTING THE OLD, BUT ON BUILDING THE NEW.
Until next time…
Onwards and Upwards!