“It is July. I am one month sober from drug addiction. I feel much better than I did a month ago when the idea of going one day without using drugs seemed impossible.
On this day, I wake up agitated. I’m not feeling together. I think about going to a 12-step meeting, but I don’t. I think about going to the gym, but don’t. Instead, I smoke a cigarette and descend into negative thinking. I feel like I should be further along in life than I am. Suddenly, the thought enters my head: ‘When I go home to visit my family around Christmas, I’ll be feeling shitty then, too, and everyone will be drinking and partying. I’ll never be able to stay sober then.’ Of course, the next thought is: ‘Since I will not stay sober at Christmas, why bother staying sober now?’ This is called borrowing trouble from the future. It is the opposite of living ‘one day at a time’.”
I think we can get into this way of thinking about any positive change of habit we try to make in our lives, be it diet, exercise, sugar, alcohol, sleep… anything.
On this day make a choice. Make a choice for today. Whatever it is.
And then do it one day at a time.
I’m not saying, just change your habit one day at a time. There is a subtle difference. Make the commitment. Make a conscious choice for the future, and then practice it one day at a time and forget about the future.
Don’t cut yourself down by anticipating failure in the future. Don’t weaken your resolve today by imagining what you may or may not do at some point in time. Focus on the present.
Tell yourself, “I will make the best choice for myself today. That is all I can do. That is the best I can do.”
I see this happening a lot with food. People anticipate social events, relatives visiting, their spouse’s reaction, going to restaurants. They get so overwhelmed I end up hearing “I can’t”. And once you’ve said I can’t… well… you can’t.
In reality, all you have to worry about is your next meal. What is your choice going to be? Make the best choice you can, and move on.
And if you didn’t make a great choice? Move on anyway and do your best the next time.
But don’t get into future-ing or you will become overwhelmed. If I think “I am going to eat well today” that is much easier to digest (pun intended) than thinking I’m going to eat well for the rest of my life even at Christmas time no matter what.
Insert any habit into the above.
Make a decision. Make a commitment. Practice it one day at a time.
Peace and love,