It’s 3:30 pm and I’m having the same conversation with myself I have every day. Should I eat a piece of candy? Should I walk across the street to the convenience store and buy a can of chew? Or should I just sit here and suffer the mental headache that comes with the constant battle between what I want now and what I want in the future.
This battle happens every single day, at 10 am, 3 pm and 7 pm. Why? Because those are the exact times I would take a chew for most of my adult life. Nicotine is a drug. I don’t think anyone will argue that point. In fact many people think it is one of the most addictive substances out there. Here’s the scary part- it’s only in your blood for about 100 hours… So why is it, after all this time, I still get a craving for it at the exact same time, every single day? Two reasons: habits never die and addiction isn’t just chemical.
Habits- We can cover up our habits, but they never go away. I won’t bore you with the neurological aspect of habits, but they are ingrained pathways in our brain and we cannot change them. We can attempt to reroute our brain down a new path, but we’ll never get rid of the original path. This is why it is so important to be conscious of our decisions even when we think “this one time won’t matter”. Believe me, it ALWAYS matters.
How do I know? Well beside reading and studying the subject, this is how I lost my weight and quit my addiction to chewing tobacco.
Addiction- Food is an addiction. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. I’m not telling you this so you can blame anyone else. I’m telling you this so you know how to regain control. The first step toward forward progress is to know there is a problem. Without knowing the problem, how do expect to find a fix?
The battle I fight everyday is between eating something, buying a can of chew and doing nothing… It can’t be that hard, right? I mean just sit at my desk and drink some water. Simple enough, right? As Jim Rohn says: “It’s simple, but it ain’t easy”.
I’m not usually a “do nothing” type of guy. I like to be taking action or moving in some direction. Some days it’s the complete wrong direction, but at least I’m staying busy… The fight between eating, chewing and drinking some water and getting back to work gets old. It wears on me everyday. I can win most days. It takes an excruciating headache and lots of thinking through the problem, but I still lose from time to time.
Why not just pick a small piece of candy and munch on it? Simple enough right? Sounds good but once I have that little bite, I lose control… I can’t have just one tootsie roll. One turns into 10. On a side point- did you know that 2 very small pieces of tootsie roll eaten 5 days a week turns into 2 pounds over just one year? (Using simple calories in equals weight gain. Not here to get technical.) Not to mention the added sugar to my food intake.
Here lies a major reason people have a problem with addiction and habits. The “it’s ok, it’s only this once” is the fight I won to have the success I’ve had. Getting past the addiction and the habit is the constant battle I fight every single day to keep myself going on my own personal path toward my goals. Does it suck to get a headache everyday? You bet. Does it suck to fight the battle day in and day out about whether to just walk to the store and buy a can of chew- “just this once”? Yeah. Do I win everyday? Nope. Not even close. But, if I can win 90% of the time, I can compound that success. Hell, when I first started my journey, I was happy to win 30% of the time. If batting .300 is good enough to get you into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, it was a good enough place for me to start.
It takes work day in and day out. I won’t B.S. you, it sucks. But if you really want to make a lasting change in your life, you have to be willing to do what you don’t want to do now so you can do what you want to do later. “Doing the things you don’t have to do will always determine the difference when it’s too late to do anything about it.” Jackie B. Cooper
I don’t like giving up stuff I want. I don’t like missing out on a special treat. There’s days I would rather stay in my nice cozy bed and snuggle with my teddy bear, but guess what? The alarm goes off and I fight the battle between my comfort zone of hitting the snooze and I grudgingly get my cup of coffee and get to work. I fight the battle not to raid the fridge at 3:15 in the morning. I fight the urge to just curl up on the couch for a quick snooze. It’s hard. It’s not even close to easy. But when I got to come home from Leadville and check off the “Silver Rush 50” as complete, the constant battle became worth it in an instant. The feeling I get looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself, “Yes it really happened. You really did it. You have accomplished your goals up to this point.” Those moments keep me pressing on through the headaches, the instant gratification, the early alarm clocks and the disappointment of not getting what I think I want.
Make a promise to yourself right now. Promise you will make your goals so big and so juicy that you are willing to give up what you want right now for something bigger. Set a goal so big you will be constantly reminded of the positives to come instead of the disappointment of the little things you think you want right now. This is the only way I have been able to keep my focus on what I want. This is the best way I know to help you accomplish your goals.