I’m writing this blog on Day 4 of a clean eating plan that I decided to embark upon after being on the road for a month and feeling like I could use a little tune-up. I’m eliminating processed sugar, caffeine, dairy, wheat and alcohol, and I’m already feeling my nerves calming down and the fog slowly lifting. My active mind is also beginning to settle and I’ve been feeling a consistent level of energy from morning til night. I’m committed to staying on this path and to really creating a sustainable lifestyle that allows me to create, live and express at my full potential.
I was sharing this with a friend yesterday and something they said has stuck with me. It was something along the lines of, “I don’t have the discipline that you do.” All I heard when they carried on was multiple versions of and justifications for the belief “I can’t.”
What my friend failed to consider is that there was a time when I was standing in those very same shoes, wondering how the heck I was going to get out of the woods of a lifestyle of smoking, drinking, not eating well and not taking care of my body.
The thing I’ve come to realize is that “I can’t” is just a really disempowering way of saying, “I don’t know how to yet” or even better, “I haven’t yet.” Anything is possible. A-NY-THING! And all it takes is a crisp decision and enough desire to back that decision up with the necessary amount of action to make it stick.
Smoking is my favorite example, and I can speak it about because I’ve been there. I was a bona fide smoke for over ten years. There was a time when I thought I would never be able to kick it and I feared that I’d be a smoker for life and worse yet, that I would die of a horrible smoking-related disease.
Despite the habitual element of smoking and all the reasons that people come up with to justify the continued self-inflicted torture that all smokers endure, at the root of it all, smoking is caused by an addiction to nicotine, one of the most addictive drugs known to man. The physical withdrawal from nicotine is real but not all that significant and certainly not insurmountable (trust me, I’ve been there and back a few times). But that’s not what keeps people smoking*. The true culprit is the fear of what life will be like without it and in most cases, fear of what they will have to go through to get to the other side. In other words, it’s that voice that says, “I can’t.”
When it comes to smoking or any other self-defeating behavior that is largely held in place by fear-based mental constructs and patterns, the solution is clear and simple:
Make a decision and stick to it.
There is a voice inside every smoker that whispers of freedom and that dreams of a life of good health and clean lungs. There is a voice inside each and every one of us that whispers of freedom from self-inflicted mental and emotional suffering, and that dreams of a life built on empowering beliefs and a healthy sense of self.
This is the voice of Truth and it speaks of what’s possible. The only thing separating us from the reality that it points towards is a little bit of uncertainty, a little bit of discomfort and an iron-clad commitment to staying the course.
If you were to decide RIGHT NOW that you wanted to be free from your addiction to nicotine or sugar or sex or TV or Facebook, self-pity or negative self-talk, all you have to do is make a decision that you will NOT smoke that cigarette, eat that sweet, indulge in the behavior in question.
Despite fears to the contrary, I can promise that NOT doing any of the above will not kill you. Yes, you will be uncomfortable, you might feel a pinch, you might become temporarily irritable and you might be tempted to turn back and give in. BUT…if your resolve to stick to your decision and honor the voice of Truth within you is strong, nothing can make you go back. You are the one who gets to decide how it goes and you can turn what was once an “I can’t” to “I can and I did” and now “I know how to” and can help others to do the same.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t seek additional help or support in overcoming the behavior in question. In fact, in many cases, that can help you strengthen your resolve and stick to your decision. It also doesn’t mean you can’t do some prep and psych yourself up mentally before tearing off the band-aid, but the truth is that you will never be fully ready and the only way to get there is to take the leap.
On the other side of the forest of uncertainty and discomfort is the life you’ve been longing for and limitless possibilities.
I’ve gotten to “I can” many times by making a decision and sticking to it. I know you can to.
How about NOW?
* For more help becoming smoke-free, check out Alan Carr’s Easy Way To Stop Smoking
Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.