Most of the time we know the behaviour changes we need to make to improve our lives.
Such as we know that exercising, stopping drinking alcohol, putting our phone away, getting good sleep, putting an end to app switching (ME!), prioritising you, no more doom scrolling, setting boundaries, getting up earlier, will all help you.
But for some reason, try as hard as you can, you can’t create change.
Because change isn’t easy.
Your system likes what it knows. So if suddenly you start exercising, it pulls you back into comfort and safety of what it knows, EVEN if this behaviour (no exercise) isn’t helpful.
Because all our behaviour is for a reason, even if it’s not helpful or what we want.
A perfect example to illustrate this is my relationship with alcohol.
I’ve never really had an issue with alcohol – as in – I drank during the weekends, but never really drank during the weeks. I could easily be the designated driver. I wasn’t in any way or shape addicted to alcohol.
However, when I did drink, I’d generally not be able to stop at a glass or two of wine – it would be a bottle or two if I was out with my friends. And then I’d lose days to hangovers, I’d be ashamed by the shenanigans I got up to or the conversations I’d had (not actually conversations IYKYK), I’d been drunk or hungover in front of my kids, I’d be grumpy and anxious in the days afterwards, I’d end up eating total shit to get over alcohol. Over the years I’ve got myself into all sorts of situations, LIKE ANYONE ELSE, as a result of over drinking. I feel such shame even writing this, yet I know everyone else is exactly the same.
Over the last few years, I’ve been reading more and more about alcohol and the impact on mental health and also really thinking about the example I wanted to set for my own kids. And the perimenopause has made this so much harder too. I’ve been reducing alcohol significantly and then this year sometime in the spring, I totally stopped – I don’t know what date and I don’t know when my last glass was, but it’s been a long time. It must be at least 6 months now.
But I couldn’t stop drinking until I changed my beliefs about alcohol such as:
- I’m boring for not drinking
- I’ll be excluded if I don’t drink (which it turns out I am – but I don’t care)
- I’ll be judged for not drinking
- Who am I if I don’t drink?
- People will think I’m judgey for not drinking
My new beliefs are:
- I love having energy and time for my kids at the weekend
- I love living a healthy life
- I am a good example to my kids
- I am funny and loving and totally connected to the people that are important
- I have so much fun in so many ways in my life
- I am wild in my own way
Now I don’t know if I’ll never drink again… but when I upgraded my beliefs, I stopped drinking. I know if I did drink it would be a genuine – I want to taste that wine – because I used to really pride myself in having a very good taste in various wines and could tell you what a wine was by a sip and sniff, so I might have an odd half glass. But honestly I never ever ever want to feel out of control, be ashamed or be drunk in front of my kids again.
Fundamentally, my behaviour of drinking alcohol was leading me to not feel good about myself, make poor decisions, made me unhealthy and increased my stress and anxiety and reduced my capacity to manage life as I wanted to.
But what was driving my behaviour was my beliefs. I lived in fear of being ostracised by my family, friends and neighbours for not drinking.
When I think who I want to be – I want to be fun/happy, calm and confident – is the person who has those characteristics someone that drinks herself to the point she loses control? Absolutely not.
Working with clients – I always set up an end goal because I’m goal driven. I like a goal.
The goals vary client to client, but this year I’ve worked with such a huge variety of things from anxiety, intrusive thoughts, trauma, relationships, a lot around sex and reinitiating sex lives, parenting and parenting children with neurodiversity, imposter syndrome, confidence building, OCD, health anxiety, fears and phobias, feeling into ease and calm and so much more.
If you’d like to find out more about working with me – get in touch and let’s chat.
If you are interested in exploring an alcohol free lifestyle – be sure to check out Our Circle, an online community for alcohol free mums.
Much love, Tricia