I’ve been drinking diet soda for 12 years. I’ve never REALLY tried to quit. I’ve thought about it on and off but the truth was I never thought it was that bad. There are worse things I could do. There are worse habits I could have.
But recently my Diet Coke habit has been getting really annoying. I saw a quote that said, “When a habit is ready to die, it gets really loud.” And I would say my this habit is getting really loud. It’s screaming. Everything I dislike about it is showing itself to me in flashing neon signs. So I think it’s time.
I had a lot of thoughts that have been keeping this habit alive:
It’s my only treat. I don’t have any other vice. Not dessert, not salty foods, nothing. This is it. Without that, what would be my treat?
I like it. I like how it tastes.
It’s too hard to quit.
I’ll get headaches or migraines if I stop.
I’ll be so tired and for how long?
I mean, it’s sugar free.
And many more.
When I rehearse these kinds of thoughts, it keeps me in the same place. Despite knowing all the reasons Diet Coke is bad, it hasn’t been compelling enough to override those thoughts. Rather than tell myself I didn’t have a compelling reason, I started looking for a compelling reason. As many as I could find.
So now I’m looking for that. There’s all the regular health reasons, artificial sweeteners, sleep disturbances, anxiety, etc. But I’m coming up with more. I have been losing hair for about 4 years. What if my DC habit is causing that? I’ve had shoulder issues for almost 2 years that the doctors can’t explain why it’s taking so long to get better. My hips and muscles have had exceptional tightness the last year or two, and I’m a fitness instructor so I know what they should feel like. What if DC contributes to those? I can just believe it does and start experimenting. I don’t even have to know if it’s true.
Additionally, I think about the compelling reasons on the other side of this. When I quit, what might the things be that I can’t even predict will be better? Who will I be as a person on the other side of this? I had a conversation with a fellow coach (Glenn Lovelace, @itsyourwingman) who recently gave up energy drinks, and he helped me find more good reasons.
What if this addiction is preventing me from doing my work in the world? What if it’s dampening my light? What am I truly capable of creating if I released myself from these chains? What spiritual guidance would actually be available to me if my mind wasn’t occupied with this? I’ve always wanted to nurture my intuitive gifts. What if an aspect of this was spiritual?
Now I can’t know if any of this is true without testing it, but I don’t need it to be actually true. I just need it to be true to me. Even just entertaining these thoughts is becoming compelling. I just had a DC on my desk and I couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I had to dump it out.
Not saying it’s going to be easy, but when we have the right thoughts to motivate us, then the actions we want to take become easier to carry out. And when the going gets tough, I can redirect to all the awesome things I have to look forward to rather than what I might lose.
As Glenn said, your new treat will be YOU. More of you. Your new treat will be more access to your gifts.
My awesome, expanded life will be my treat. And that’s so much better than a fizzy drink.