We all have goals, and we all have stumbling blocks that seem to keep getting in our way. We fall back into bad patterns of behavior that don’t serve our plan and we often feel like we are a slave to these bad behaviors. We declare ourselves hopelessly “addicted” to these things, and we act like we’re slaves incapable of slipping our shackles. And then we rub salt in the wound by telling ourselves what failures we are, and we aren’t worth that lofty goal we are striving towards. To some extent, this master/slave relationship is true (and of course, in some cases, a chemical addiction is at play and requires serious medical intervention-those aren’t the situations I’m discussing here) . Someone much smarter than me once said (and I’m paraphrasing here) tell me what you can’t live without for 3 days and I’ll tell you who your master is. We DO become slaves to our habits, but what we don’t often acknowledge is that we are also the magician behind the curtain, and we are capable of rewriting those habits!
The truth is that we are always the master of our own plan, and at every step we have the opportunity to change paths, no matter how hopeless it might seem or how stuck we might feel. With practice, you can rewrite your script, and create NEW habits that will serve the very best version of you, rather than keeping you stuck in a cycle of guilt and disappointment. By acknowledging the reasons, no matter how ugly or painful, behind the habits you are fighting, they lose their ritual stranglehold over you, and you can use that powerful realization to reprogram your behavior.
I’d like to share this practice with you. It’s one I work on every day, and I implement the same process with my clients who often struggle to meet their goals and are constantly beating themselves up for falling off the wagon and sabotaging their own results.
I call this practice “The 3 Bs”:
-Because, But, Benefit-
The basic construct works a bit like a therapeutic mad-libs:
“I don’t want to give up __________ BECAUSE ______________. BUT, ________ does not serve my goal of _____________________. I acknowledge that _________ has helped me ____________, but now I choose only those actions that BENEFIT me and serve my goals. These actions include: ________________________.”
It seems silly, but let me show you how it works. Since this practice requires honesty and vulnerability, it only makes sense to share with you one of my own routines.
I don’t want to give up drinking alcohol BECAUSE it helps me cope with the sadness of my miscarriages and the feelings of inadequacy I feel from having to deal with years of infertility….BUT drinking alcohol does not serve my goal of balancing my blood sugar and burning those stubborn pounds I want to lose. I acknowledge that alcohol has helped me through some tough times, but now I choose to let it go and choose only those actions that BENEFIT me and serve my goals.
Whatever your struggle is, you have the power to change it. Acknowledge where the behavior is truly coming from, be grateful for the benefit it gave you in troubled times, and then release it without judgment. The power to change has always been in your hands, all you have to do is release your grip and let it go!
What behaviors would you like to let go of that no longer serve you? Speak your truth and share the love!