Let me tell you a scary story.
It’s about a girl who has been struggling with an addiction to sweets for nineteen long years. She’s tried to stay away from the junk foods. She’s tried quitting sugar, cold turkey. But we all know what happens when you try going cold turkey— you crash.
So she fell off the wagon almost every week. From Monday to Wednesday she would eat cleanly, sticking to healthy greens and lean proteins. But by Thursday afternoon, the cravings would start to bite, and she would end up face down on the ground with chocolate running down her chin and sprinkles stuck to her forehead wondering where she went wrong.
Terrifying, am I wrong?
By Saturday, she would regain her determination. She concluded that Sunday was the start of a new week and, therefore, a new chance to start over and to start right. She would claim “I’m going to completely give up sugar starting tomorrow and that will be the end of my problems FOREVER!”
The scariest part of this tale? This poor girl was stuck in a continuous loop of saying “I’ll start tomorrow,” for years. Though she admitted to herself that she had a problem a long time ago, she has been sucked into believing that somehow “starting tomorrow” would work one day.
In case you were wondering, the lost soul in this story is actually me. I was suckered in to believing that someday I really would “start tomorrow,” and that I could completely cut out sugar overnight. And I will do anything in my power to make sure that you do not fall into the same trap.
I mentioned that my biggest vice is eating (way) too much sugar, but this can be replaced with any bad habit that you yourself might be struggling with. Do you procrastinate? There’s one. Do you stay up late? There’s another.
Trying to break habits is fighting against the one person that knows you best. They know all of your strengths and weaknesses, your mood at all times, even your most personal thoughts. You’re fighting against yourself.
And when you let yourself believe that you’re going to “start tomorrow,” you are willingly sabotaging a chance to make your life just that much better.
Realize now that quitting something all at once, or even starting something all at once just doesn’t work. And saying that you’ll “start tomorrow” is usually just an excuse that you give yourself to indulge now and think about the consequences later.
Start working with yourself instead of against yourself!
For me, the only way that I was going to stop eating sugar was going to be by phasing it out, like someone that’s trying to quit cigarettes. I made a plan to give myself less and less every day until my cravings started to subside and my entire world wasn’t driven by cheesecake. It was a lot less painful than quitting cold turkey, and so far I’ve been stickin’ to it!
What’s your biggest baddest habit? Think about it, it’s either something that needs to be phased out, like watching too much Netflix, or it’s something that needs to be phased in, like going to bed at an earlier time.
Set a goal, write out a schedule, and give yourself a lengthy timeline. It takes weeks, months even until you start seeing any real changes happening, and for some that’s the worst part.
I’ve always hated it when people say “Good things take time,” or “Results don’t happen overnight.”
But once you accept that both of those statements are true, at least, when it comes to making/breaking habits, you’ll be ready to start your engine for the slow, gradual ride to change.
Image via Hannah Maynard