Oh, bad, unhealthy, unwelcome habits. Why is it you’re so easy to fall into but so very hard to crawl out of?
When it comes to liberating yourself from habits that no longer serve you, we talk a lot in The Sparkle Project about moving your focus from what you’re giving up, to what you’re gaining in return. We look at ways of shifting perception from a place of fear to a place of love. When you do, rather than feeling deprived and miserable from missing out, you begin to feel empowered, inspired, excited even, by your choice. Eventually ‘I can’t have that’ becomes ‘I don’t want that’, and then baby, you’re truly free.
Whether you’re struggling to remove yourself from the seductive clutches of wine, cheese, meat, sugar, gluten, binge-eating or drinking, social media, a toxic relationship with an ex, or anything you feel is not good for you, a great way to do this is to make a list. Get creative and brainstorm 10 things better than that habit. This list then becomes your toolbox, your safety net, and your best friend. When you feel tempted, focus on one or all of the things on your beautiful list instead.
If you’re not a list person, find 10 images of things or emotions that are better than that habit and stick them on your fridge, your desk, your bathroom mirror, or your vision board. Remind yourself of your big WHY. Why you want to change; what your life would be like without that unhealthy habit; who you could become if you were free of its clutches.
When I decided to embark on a vegan lifestyle and the thought of never eating cheese (ever again ) filled me with horror, I made a list of 10 things better than cheese. The list included things like guacamole, salsa, sundried-tomato hummus, better digestion, fewer eczema breakouts, and never having to worry about my weight again (that one never gets old!). I carried the list with me everywhere and used it to fend off unwanted dairy advances. Within 30 days my tastebuds had changed, my mantra had worked, and I was free! Damn, that felt good.
Now that I’ve decided I want to be free of wine, I’m using the same tactic. Aahhh vino… such a glamorous temptress. I care for her too much, and just like any dysfunctional relationship, she cares for me too little. She promises me a great time and then robs me of my sparkle. She whispers that I need her to relax, celebrate, or even just have dinner with pals. Then the next day when I’m feeling tired and anxious, where is she, huh? Vanished!
Well I’ve had enough! She’s not welcome here anymore.
So my list now looks like this:
10 Things Better Than Wine
1. Productive, happy mornings. No headaches, no hangovers – just bliss.
2. Glowing skin and eyes that sparkle.
3. Better digestion. Absorption of every last trace of that expensive Spirulina!
4. Fresh vegetable juices. I can literally feel my body becoming healthier with every sip. Green glam, baby! Mason jars are cooler than wine stems anyway, right? Right?
5. Clarity – of thoughts, emotions, energy.
6. Uninterrupted creativity. Whether we like it or not, alcohol dulls that creative spark. Ideas are harder to come by. Things don’t just flow. I want more of the good stuff – passion, inspiration, creativity, lightning bolts of brilliance.
7. The smell of fresh, clean sheets beneath my clear and happy head as I fall sleep.
8. More money for other treats like fancy herbal tea, books, workout wear in gorgeous sorbet colours, ‘just because I love you’ gifts for my favourite people, animal charity donations, and raw chocolate.
9. Better (stronger!) memories of the good times. Sober D&Ms and spontaneous belly laughs. Confidence and courage that is authentically me – not poured from a bottle.
10. Personal growth. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. I’ve always used wine as a social lubricant so it’s a bit scary to navigate functions without it. Change takes courage but rewards you in so many ways, the best way being evolution of your soul.
Your turn, beautiful.
What do you feel compulsively drawn to but know your life would ultimately be richer without? Maybe it’s a certain food, a relationship, or a behaviour you have a hard time saying no to.
Flip it, baby! What are 10 things/emotions/benefits better than that thing for you? Write your list and carry it with you, or stick ’em up where you can see them. Remind yourself of your big WHY every single day until that old habit no longer even appeals to you. Use affirmations to reinforce your reasons.
Rewrite your story. Harness your big, bright potential. Brainwash your way to total babeness. You got this.
BecApril 15, 2014 at 3:56 pm (9 years ago)
What a fantastic idea Bex!! I love it 🙂
Vegan SparklesApril 16, 2014 at 11:23 am (9 years ago)
Thanks, gorgeous girl. It’s always handy to have a few tricks and tactics up our sleeve when we battle those bad habits. 🙂 x
Robyn B | Modern Day MissusApril 16, 2014 at 4:25 pm (9 years ago)
Uuggghhhh, wine – I hate her. Ditched her a while ago. I must admit, every now and again she comes knocking at my door and then after a few nights of indulgence (usually the kind where you’re cooking risotto and you’re like one glass for the food, one glass for me), she gets sent packing again!
Love the idea of writing a list of ’10 things better than’!
Vegan SparklesApril 17, 2014 at 11:12 am (9 years ago)
Ohhh, she’s a sneaky devil, isn’t she! Good work sending her packing! 🙂 x
Barbara ConradApril 16, 2014 at 6:06 pm (9 years ago)
I used to drink a small glass of wine with every evening meal. That’s what my parents have always done and as a young adult I saw no problem doing it myself when I started living on my own.
Then a couple of summers ago it was really too hot to even think about drinking something that would make me feel hotter still. I switched to water with lemon juice, or a gorgeously fresh alcohol free beer, once in a while. I still drink wine, usually a glass or two on Saturday night at the restaurant, but I never feel like I have to drink wine for my meal to be complete. Also, drinking so little of it, I now get tipsy or sleepy right away 😀
Vegan SparklesApril 17, 2014 at 11:15 am (9 years ago)
Ooh yes, water with lemon juice sounds MUCH more refreshing! I’ve been drinking mineral water with fresh lemon instead and it’s working a treat so far. And yes, I don’t miss the sleepiness after a glass or two at ALL. 🙂 x
PatriciaApril 16, 2014 at 9:24 pm (9 years ago)
Terrific idea. I’ll be doing this for gluten today. And I’m printing this article out, too.
Vegan SparklesApril 17, 2014 at 11:16 am (9 years ago)
So glad it helps, Patricia. Kick that gluten to the kerb, baby! 🙂 x
An Unrefined VeganApril 17, 2014 at 4:09 am (9 years ago)
Brilliant. This is a fantastic way to tackle a stubborn habit or craving. Mason jars are WAaaayyy cooler :-)! Thanks for the inspiration (and PS, I LOVE lists!).
Vegan SparklesApril 17, 2014 at 11:19 am (9 years ago)
hehe, so glad you agree on the mason jar thing, Annie, and I’m a total list-geek too. 🙂 x
jessApril 18, 2014 at 5:45 am (9 years ago)
I love this idea, it’s so positive and refreshing. I had drinks with a friend last night for the first time in a *very* long time and thought to myself, you know… I prefer a morning Pilates class to feeling like this the next day!
Vegan SparklesApril 18, 2014 at 9:42 am (9 years ago)
Absolutely, Jess. A morning Pilates class sounds like a much more enjoyable start to the day! 🙂 x
firstname.lastname@example.orgApril 22, 2014 at 1:45 am (9 years ago)
I am in awe of your resolve and love this share!
Vegan SparklesApril 22, 2014 at 2:35 pm (9 years ago)
Thanks so much and I hope it helps in some way. 🙂 x
yogalvr16LauraApril 30, 2014 at 4:23 pm (9 years ago)
Do you recommend focusing on one “thing” we want to change about ourselves, and then write down the 10 things that are better than that one specific thing? I have many habits and traits that I want to change about myself, but I feel so overwhelmed and anxious to change them that I find it hard to even start anywhere. So as not to overwhelm myself, I feel like I should just aim my focus at one trait or habit without taking any of the other negative traits into account, which would not be as overwhelming or anxiety fueling. What are your thoughts?
Vegan SparklesMay 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm (9 years ago)
Absolutely, Laura. In my experience and with coaching my beautiful clients, working on one thing at a time – at a slow and steady pace – is the best way to avoid overwhelm and make the lasting changes we truly crave. Shining a light on just one food/habit/change at a time. Progress, not perfection. x