“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate”
– Carl Jung
It’s a few days after the TH Training Christmas party, and I’m not a big drinker – I have a drink every so often but I don’t go crazy. On Friday I kinda pulled the ripcord – I did have a few, stayed out late, all the things that I tell clients to watch out for. The reason I say this is because it does affect your training, your sleep, your happiness and your overall success. I see it every day.
On Saturday – the day after we went out, I didn’t feel like doing anything – I didn’t feel like moving, or going anywhere. I just wanted to eat more pizza, maybe have a drink as well, and the only thing that kept me going was knowing that on Sunday, it was gonna be a new start, a new day, I was gonna get back training, eating right and I knew I was gonna feel happier the next day.
On top of all this, I didn’t feel that great emotionally. It wasn’t a hangover as such (or maybe it was and I just didn’t realise!), but I was getting down.
For most people, especially here in Ireland, this is a regular part of our lives.
If it is for you, then you have these feelings all the time. It’s become so normalized to stay on this treadmill that a lot of us aren’t even really conscious of it – we don’t stop to question if this actually feels good to us, on a fundamental level. We don’t stop to consider the effects – constantly feeling tired, feeling like we just want to have comforting food, feeling hungover and a bit blue. We don’t see alcohol for what it is – a chemical depressant.
Many of us have a drink to take us out of the current moment, or out of a crappy week.
But here’s something to think about:
Your goal should not be to find ways to escape from your day to day life. Your goal should be to build a day to day life you don’t need to escape from.
It can feel like a downward spiral – that’s what I felt like on Saturday. It just feels crap and like there’s no way out, and the only way to feel better is to eat more junk, drink more, do nothing.
How do we turn this around, especially leading up to Christmas, the holidays, New Year’s and all those other events that make it harder and harder to take care of ourselves?
The first thing is awareness. Awareness of where you are right now, what’s going on, how you’re treating your body.
Are you feeling that much better by drinking more? Eating more?
Would you feel better by moving a little more? Eating a bit less? Or eating a bit better?
I’m not telling anyone to kill their social life. We all need to get out and relax. What I am asking you to do is to become conscious of your habits. Rather than just going along with the usual pattern, just start to notice – really pay attention – to how it actually makes you feel. If you go out from time to time and enjoy it and it doesn’t have a major impact on you, then have at it. But if it’s taking a toll on other aspects of your life, for starter, simply tune in to that.
The occasional blow out won’t derail your life. All you have to do is have faith that the next day can be better. Try to eat a little bit better, drink a little less, get moving a bit more.
With all the team with TH, our job is to show that change is possible. Especially when you feel down, like there’s no way out. Looking at my own experience of the weekend, yeah it can feel crap, but knowing I have a good routine to get back to really helps.
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says that
“your outcomes are a lagging measure of your habits… your weight is a lagging measure of your eating habits… you get what you repeat.”
By this logic, your health – in the widest sense – is a lagging measure of your health habits, and drinking is, for many of us, a big part of this.
That’s why we focus on habit. And the first step, is awareness. Once we see our own patterns, we can adjust them, and build the ones we choose. That’s where the real progress lies. it’s not in New Year’s resolutions or fasts or bootcamps or diets that are doomed to fail. it’s in simple daily habits that for the most part, help us get to where we want to go.
We don’t decide on our futures. We decide our habits, and our habits decide our futures. So give some attention to choosing the ones you really want.