Sensitive people should be treasured. They love deeply and think deeply about life. They are loyal, honest, and true. The simple things sometime mean the most to them. They don’t need to change or harden. Their purity makes them who they are. -Kristen Butler
I wrote this post today because it hit me that it’s been two years since I had a drink of alcohol.
I never committed to quit this long, it just seemed like a good idea and one day turned into two years.
It’s not forever but I wanted to capture this, talk about why it helped me, and to offer the thought of how cutting a bad habit (or many) might be right for you if it keeps you from feeling your feelings. This will free you up so you can think clearly and pursue goals built upon the healthy feelings you want to feel.
Feel me on this?
Before you start diving into making the same old list of goals that sound good, you need to tune into how you want to feel and build your vision around this.
Just like you wouldn’t want to start driving somewhere for ten hours just because everyone else goes there.
You’d want to drive somewhere you actually want to go.
You also wouldn’t want to drive there with a bad engine, you’d want to get that worked out so you do break down half way. You’d want to cut out anything that was going to derail your progress towards reaching your goals.
You want to establish say four main goals based on how you want to feel, and cut out derailing habits (a-hem, like alcohol).
You can start adding the good habits that build to great benefits.
Also, you can enjoy the process, don’t worry about what you don’t have or know yet, you can gain the right tools for the job along the way.
Keep in mind that these goals should not be complex.
Feelings are just single words like: Adventure. Purpose. Freedom. Connection.
See, nothing fancy going on here. By keeping detailed plans out of the picture, you can actually focus on the feelings you want to feel.
I read a book called The Desire Map that guided me in a new direction.
It focuses on how you want to feel versus external goals, like a fancy car.
How do you want to feel in each area of life (Emotional, Spiritual, Mental, Physical, Social)?
You can use prompts like “I crave…” and “Other than time or money, what I want more of is…”. This book will give you more if this sounds like something useful. These are the (Affiliate) links if are interested in more:
Then you can dig into the meanings of these words by going to a Dictionary and find even more perfect words using a Thesaurus.
Circle the ones that resonate the most and look for patterns and choose four final words.
The you can use these desired feelings to drive what you want to do, be, and have and set four major intentions for the year, put it on a sticky and post it where you will see it.
Craft a vision around these feelings and boom! These are your goals.
Not complicated, easy.
So, now you have your four intentions for the year. Look at where you are now and where you want to be.
You want to quit the things in your life that you feel are holding you back. This can be drugs, alcohol, food, gossiping, being rude to people, spending, goals for the sake of goals, or other distraction that turn down the noise of your feelings.
These distractions keep you from being afraid or from being hurt really, but it doesn’t really help you in any way beyond the surface. You cannot pretend reality away, it is always there waiting.
It’s not because you don’t care that you chose not to feel, it’s because you do care. By letting go of your attachment to not feeling, you can actually start to help yourself.
You have to stop the cycle, accept where you are, and see your end goals as attainable once you break them down.
It’s time to stop getting in your own way.
You can see your end goals and good habits as something to work towards one day at a time, and your bad habits as things you can stop one day at a time.
If you ever feel that your end goal is just too much, think about this ninja warrior story from The Peaceful Warrior: A Book that Changes Lives. You have to read the book to fully understand the humor in it but I will simply share a cute and useful story from it.
The main character Dan, is hoping to one day be in the Olympics and he meets an older man who can jump to the rooftop of the gas station where he works. Dan begs him to find out how Socrates (Soc) made the jump over and over again. (I imagine that ability would come in handy at the Olympics.)
Soc finally tells him this story about the ninja warriors who underwent the most intense physical and mental training ever. They could swim in full armor, climb walls like lizards, could go completely unnoticed, and were great jumpers.
These ninja warriors as children were given a corn seed to plant. They would plant the seed and then jump over the stalk as it grew every day, and it grew to over their heads. If they failed to jump it, they would have to start all over again with a new corn seed.
Dan asked what the great secret was and Soc proceeded to explain that they practice with corn stalks while he simply just practiced with gas stations while bursting into laughter.
He tells Dan he can only know and understand when he does it and that clearing his mind is the first step.
So whatever mountain you need to climb, or stalk or rooftop you need to jump, just do it incrementally one day at a time. It won’t seem so impossible the further you go, but first clear the clutter.
Why do we give up on our vision? Why do we self-sabotage our progress?
Do we think too much about the grown stalks and think what’s the point? I’ve failed so many times, why bother?
It’s because we do care.
You have to look at the habits in your life and ask whether they have a hold on you.
How much are you looking forward to doing them and how big a role are they playing in your life?
“What happened?” “Do I need to apologize to anyone?” “Where’s my cat?” “Why is my ironing board broken?” “Why is my leg bleeding?” I’ll stop there.
So, like I was saying, it’s been two years since I had a drink. Yes, I really enjoyed red wine and dirty martinis but one day not drinking was something I just did for that day and it turned into two years.
I didn’t really have a problem drinking at home, it’s when I mixed it with socializing and I used it to turn down the noise of everything, to feel normal. Alcohol became a social crutch and that is what made it a problem.
What a horrible treatment for someone who wants to not be anxious and wants stronger relationships. In case you don’t know or need to be reminded, it’s always better to learn to deal with the source of your problems.
The feeling to quit was oddly natural.
I also cut addiction to unhealthy food, trained for a half marathon, and then a full marathon, and eliminated debt. I never had a grand plan to do all those things, one just evolved into the other. If I’d set out to do all those things, it would have seemed like a big joke.
I guess I just started to stop the things holding me back and I just did one thing and one day at a time.
So, what do you need to quit?
There is a nifty free book called The Yoga Sutras of Panjali: The Book of the Spiritual Man and because it’s so old it’s free here!
It’s a simple yet complex series of steps broken up into four books.
It’s about how we are spiritual beings with true powers and that we have covered them up with false desires and with our self-indulgent egos. The book lays out the steps to break out of these false desires gently like ‘extricating gems from the matrix’.
So I guess it took me 20 years to get through the first couple of steps.
Well worth it!
Now you have to build habits so good, they outshine any power your bad ones had. Good habits build quickly into great rewards.
What good things can you add?
There are so many good swaps you can make.
Here is a huge list to help get you thinking:
Running a race for charity, healthy diet, (playing) sports, exercising, meditation, EFT, volunteering, charity, journaling. forgiving, acknowledging achievements and positive traits, gratitude, random act of kindness, breaking down problems, accepting responsibility, practice mindfulness, acknowledge your progress, surround yourself with supportive people, be accepting of yourself, declutter, have core values, or set boundaries.
So, you want to keep your goals somewhere you will see them and incorporate good habits into your days. Also consider if there are daily habits that will naturally bring you closer to your goals.
This way, you always can keep it straight in your mind and it really simplifies the process.
I can now enjoy indulgent food or buy something nice for myself but I’m not tied to these things and I know I have the discipline to pursue something big and see it as an enjoyable journey.
After you’ve established your goals, figure out which habits are really holding you back and which you want to keep, the final step is to find the right tool(s) for the job.
Think of this step like you did in the previous step — you’re establishing a framework for a life that will bring you closer to your goals one day at a time.
Build your toolkit to succeed to achieve your visions:
Any time you get stuck, just realize there is a tool or a person who can help you. Make a list of possible resources or tools.
If you really want to do it right, try to anticipate all the roadblocks you anticipate and gear up with tools and the people you will need as you go.
Once you prove to yourself this works you can increase your clarity, focus, and purpose.
Last, but certainly not least, you want to memorialize all of this in a template so you can pursue the feelings you want to have in your life.
Isn’t that what it’s all about?
If you want to contribute, to make a difference, this is a way to do it.
This template, your goal framework can be easily altered and filled in over time while keeping your core feelings in view.
Then, you’re ready to pursue your vision and start replacing bad habits with good ones and create your toolkit.
And you know what the best part is?
Next time, you have the idea that you want to pursue something, you can follow this framework again and again and it won’t feel quite as daunting. 🙂
Want to create your own vision? Get your own vision template including some of the tips featured above by clicking here!
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