It may seem to you that everyone else is getting on with it (whatever that “it” may be). The friend losing weight, the one aiming to run 5k, those people in Club Soda successfully moderating or going alcohol-free. Yet you don’t feel like you have the energy to even start, let alone get to a place you can call successful. Here are some tips on how to overcome this and become a person of action.
Don’t compare yourself to others
In reality we are not comparing like with like. We only see the outside of someone else at a point in time, what they are willing to share. Yet we know the all of us – and our friendly inner critics.
We are also really good at seeing only the people doing well, and never looking at the ones who are struggling. Your inner critics loves seeing other people do well, as it can kill your motivation dead by making you think you are not as good as someone else.
Challenge that inner critic
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is it true that I am a failure – when else have I succedeed?
- Is it true everyone else is a success and I am not (again we are great at remembering only our failures and not our successes)?
- Is it really true that they have just got to where they are effortlessly?
One way to really hammer this ‘everyone is better than me’ draw on your energy and motivation is to ask others who are in the community or further down the line than you:
- Did you just give up like that?
- Did you ever fall off the wagon?
- What was hard for you and how did you manage it?
Minimise things that drain you
Criticising yourself takes important energy – energy you need for change. There may be other things too, like dealing with an emotional situation. It may be that your first step towards changing your drinking habits is not setting an alcohol-free or moderation goal at all, but instead spending time creating more space in your life for making change happen.
It could be that emotional issues are tying you in knots, and worry and anxiety are draining your energy – do you need to find some tools to manage this? I have to say I wish I had read Constructive Wallowing after my first year of not drinking. Hiding my emotions (and not dealing with them) takes a large chunk of my energy.
For you there may be other things. Are there domestic tasks you could just not do (your home does not always have to be tidy)? Or try and work out how to eliminate some work stress, or utilise some holiday time to provide you with some mental space. Maybe you could plan to avoid some friends who always use you as their sounding board/and or personal slave?
Make a plan and break it into small steps. Go for detail.
It does not have to be alcohol-related. It does not have to be long term. It just has to be a plan to do something, however small. You are practising ‘doing’ rather than feeling overwhelmed by the big task ahead (which generally leads you to procrastinate).
Set a goal and break it down: big things into small, manageable steps. Have some that you can tick off quickly, to avoid building anxiety or pumping you full of negative emotions.
It may be as simple as reading a book over the course of this week. Or the task of decluttering your time use.
Keep focused on the task as you are doing it. Don’t let yourself be distracted.
Celebrate what you did today
Help reverse that feeling of negativity every day by celebrating your successes instead. By the end of the day you will be tired, so it can be easy to remember only the bad things that happened and be daunted about the next day.
So take some time to remember what went well, the small things or interactions that made you smile, and what you are proud of. There will always be some in every day.
Write them down. Save them. Let the positives be the last thing in your mind as you drift to sleep. Look back at them the following morning as you build your energy for the new day ahead.
Reward yourself for the things you did right today, to strengthen your action-taking habit. And remember to be kind to yourself for the things you may not have done so well, or not at all. Remember – perfect is not possible, so don’t set yourself to fail!
We seem to have got to a place in our society where sleep and resting is seen as a failure, rather than necessary for success. I have a huge issue with relaxing and seeing it as a gift to myself and as a necessity to getting more done. Move some of those things that make you stressed, and create some space to plan, reflect, and chill.