Okay, it’s January 5 and you’ve made it through the holidays. Hopefully you have thought about your objectives for 2015, and you’re ready to start implementing your new plans and “resolutions.” You have planned out your goals (weight loss, professional, financial, relationship, etc.), you’ve planned HOW you’ll accomplish those goals including how you’ll deal with current and potential obstacles.
And in your plan, you should have considered how you’ll handle your INNER obstacles as well. You know those annoying little bad habits and struggles with impulse control? You should be prepared for when your inner voice starts coming up with excuses for why you should deviate from your plan and turn to alcohol, food or whatever your negative escape may be.
Having the “No Bull Sheet” discipline to stick to your plan (of either an alcohol-free day or a planned moderate drinking day) will actually increase your confidence and ability to stick to your plan later.
As the Navy SEALS say “Plan your dive and dive your plan.” – That means create your plan of action in DETAIL, including having contingencies and backups built in…. and then FOLLOW that plan! No matter what. This helps when you may not be thinking clearly, either because of emotional or physical vulnerabilities. And once you have executed your plan, evaluate it for what worked, and what didn’t work so well, and optimize for next time!
It can be as short of a plan as 5 minutes to 5 hours – as long as it’s a plan that you have thought through, and then carry through exactly. Here is an example:
- STEP 1– Identify potential stress producer or trigger, such as your boss coming in during work in a rotten mood and making you feel like you’re worthless.
- STEP 2– Remember HOW to get LOGICAL and REASONABLE (Click here) – Example, remind yourself that your boss gets in those moods when he’s stressed out about money and a client is riding him for increased performance or deliverables. Remember that you would probably feel the same way in his shoes, and know that it’s not personal. Tomorrow is a new day, he’ll be in a better mood, and you may be able to more logically talk to him about the situation.
- STEP 3-When you get off of work (or you are out of the situation that is triggering a desire to run to the bottle or box of Twinkies) turn to the self-soothing techniques that you should have identified by now. If not, read this blog and do this exercise (Click here).
- STEP 4– If you’re feeling too upset to self-sooth on your own, call a friend or family member where you can vent a little – then as soon as possible, do something physical to burn off the negative energy – run, workout or even play some music and play the air drums for a little while (you get the picture, right?)
- STEP 5– Once you’ve calmed down a bit, turn back to either Step 3 or else focus on some other PRODUCTIVE activity that will lead you closer to fulfilling some of your other goals.
- STEP 6– Wind down with a hot bath or shower, hot tea or hot chocolate, take some slow deep breaths, and then meditate.
- STEP 7 – If for some reason, you slipped up and did not adhere to this plan, determine what caused you to derail, and how to modify it so you are more successful next time. And I don’t mean because you started coming up with weak lame excuses, but something more valid or even subconscious that tripped you up.
Remember, life is a never ending journey full of growth and learning -and to get the most out of it, always do your best, learn from your mistakes, and NEVER GIVE UP!!