You find it easy to keep your commitments to others.
Whether it’s for a doctor’s appointment, lunch with a friend, or picking up your child, if you say you’ll be somewhere at a specific time, you’ll be there.
When you’re striving to become a woman who can take it or leave it when it comes to alcohol, food, or any other struggle you’re facing, keeping commitments to yourself becomes a vital piece of the puzzle.
Of course, there will be times when you need to break commitments. Emergencies happen, and this journey isn’t about achieving perfection.
However, if you consistently say you’re going to do something, like drinking less, but fail to keep that commitment to yourself and follow through, this episode is for you.
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 143.
Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.
Hello my beautiful friend. I hope you’re having a magical and epic day and if you’re not, that’s okay too. As I talked about in the last episode it’s all about emotional regulation. And just because our feelings might not be where we want them to be, we still want to honor them. We still want to honor the message that they have for us because they’re just a vibration in our body and I believe many of our emotions are telling us something. They have a message inside of them that is trying to get our attention that we’re off path or we’re off kilter or something needs to change in our life.
So I love the work of Susan David because she talks about emotions just being guideposts and just revealing to us when we are on track we feel good and when we’re off track sometimes we see and experience more of the negative emotions. And honestly it’s not being afraid of them. I think so many of us just want to douse them with something so we don’t feel them. But what if we weren’t afraid of them and we just looked at those emotions as gifts with a message. I think it’s such a beautiful visual when I see my anger and I just like, “Here’s my gift.” What is my anger telling me?
Where have my boundaries been crossed? What do I need to do differently? What do I need to tweak in my life because this anger keeps coming up, especially if the same emotion keeps coming up. That is something we definitely want to dive into and learn from.
Alright, so for today we’re going to keep going in my freebie that is on my website and that is the five steps to become a person who can take it or leave it with drinking, with alcohol, with eating, with anything that you’re struggling with. There is a little bit more to it when it comes to eating. But this quick guide will definitely get you started in up-leveling your habits.
Alright, so step four, and you could see that starts on page nine if you are following along as you’re listening to this podcast. Step four is keeping commitments to yourself. Now, as I write about in the guide, I know as a woman it is so easy for me to keep commitments to other people in my life, appointments, doctors appointments, dentist appointments. If I say I’m going to be there for a friend or for an event, I am there unless of course something tragic or significant happens or a last minute emergency, I am there.
But how good are you at keeping commitments to yourself? And when you’re listening to this podcast please don’t go into perfectionism mode. Of course there are going to be times where we have to break commitments for others, for ourselves, of course. Life is not about being perfect. However, this is a podcast about really if you keep saying you’re going to do something, keep saying you’re going to do something, keep saying you’re going to do something and you don’t follow through.
That’s what I’m having in mind when I’m walking you through this document is really we say we’re going to do something, we say we’re going to do something and then we don’t do it. And then before you know it, months go by, years go by and we’re still saying the same thing. So we want to really think about what are our commitments to ourselves. So what does it mean when you keep a commitment to yourself? Have you ever really dissected that for yourself? And as I was writing this and also preparing for this podcast I was thinking, what does it mean to keep commitments to yourself?
What helps you stay committed or commit to something that you say you’re going to do? And I think there are a few parts to this answer. So I want to talk about each of these parts. First of all, I think a commitment is something that you say you value. So I think our commitments show us what we value. If we go to the gym we value exercise and movement and health. Maybe you are committed to being a minimalist. You don’t buy a lot of stuff, you don’t buy multiples of everything. And you really want to live a more simple minimalistic lifestyle so you may value minimalism or less stuff.
I know one of my core values is my daughter. I want to stay committed to her so that means every day I pick her up from school. And I have arranged that with her schedule where I get to pick her up from school every day. So every day when it comes to that time, I leave my house and I go pick up my daughter. I don’t look at my calendar and say, “No, I don’t feel like getting her from school today. I think I’ll just forget it and just not show up.”
Or when somebody says, “Hey, can I have a coaching call at 2:30?” I don’t say, “Yeah, sure, let me just tell my daughter I’ll pick her up an hour later.” No, I’m committed to her. I value her. And so she’s my first priority. So I honor that commitment each day. Now, of course there are exceptions, things come up, emergencies come up, of course that happens. So this is not about perfectionism. This is just saying you could tell what I’m committed to by the actions that I take and the actions that I do.
So a lot of us say we value health or we value wellness and really looking at the actions that support that. Now, we may say those things but sometimes we don’t actually do it. We aren’t as committed as maybe we’d like to. And one of the reasons may be that we feel that inside we have competing values or there is a fear that gets in the way. And so it can look like when somebody is saying, “I want to drink less”, but they value their health and they value connection. And in their mind they’re thinking, oh my gosh if I drink less that means I don’t get to connect with others as much.
And so drinking less to them means there’s less opportunities for connection or less opportunities for fun, if they value fun. And so in their mind they might think that these are two competing values. When if we dissect them and we really look at can we connect without alcohol, can we connect when we drink less? And when the brain sees that they’re not competing then it’s easier for the person to drink less. It’s easier for them to say, “Wait, here I was thinking that these two values that I have can’t be prioritized together but yet they can.”
And I think doing that work is really important so that your brain sees it’s a win/win for all the parties and for the values that you have. So another way this can look is when women come to me and they say, “I want to drink less but not my partner, he’s not interested or she’s not interested, but yet I want to.” And so the brain has a hard time because it’s like, well, I want to do this but can I without them changing their ways? And somehow it feels like a win/lose situation for the person who wants to drink less.
And as soon as we do the work to show the brain it’s a win for the person who’s drinking less and it’s a win for the spouse, then the brain is like, okay, now I can see how this is beneficial and how it will work, which brings me to the next part of this answer for keeping commitments to ourself.
I think a big part of this also is about overcoming inertia or overcoming resistance. So if we have a form of resistance in our life it may be difficult for the brain to actually want to execute what we truly want or what we truly value. So this reminds me of Newton’s law of motion where an object at rest will stay at rest. And I think about this often when I fall off the exercise train and I’m just sitting a lot and sitting a lot and not exercise. And I’m like, “Wait a second, I have to overcome the inertia or the initial resistance.”
And so some books talk about it like just going from 0% to 1%. Just getting over that initial resistance, just getting over that inertia where you’re at rest or you haven’t been doing it and then start doing it. It’s sometimes the hardest part. Getting started for some people is the hardest part because they have so much resistance from the brain and it turns into this emotional resistance that they feel that they feel like I want to but I can’t. And so I like to just remove some of that resistance and there are ways you can do that. Taking a small step, they say eat an elephant one bite at a time.
So breaking it down so the resistance doesn’t seem so overwhelming and the brain can see, yes, this is how I could take the next step. And I have a podcast in the past where I talked about that approach mentality versus that resistance mentality or avoidance mentality. So you’re either approaching something or you’re avoiding something. And a lot of us live life from that avoidance, I don’t want to do anything different, I just want to keep on autopilot. I just want to stay here when actually approaching something, can be healthier and more beneficial for our overall wellness.
So overcoming that initial resistance and helping the brain along to see, wait, we can make the resistance smaller. And even if we just go from 0% to 1%, that’s still improvement. We see this in medicine a lot. People aren’t going to take care of themselves, they don’t stop smoking, they don’t stop smoking, they continue smoking. And then all of a sudden they have a heart attack and then they’re like, “Oh my gosh, I’m going to stop smoking.”
So the path to stop smoking is just as hard as it was before but now we’ve removed the resistance from the brain because now the person saw, I value my health and my life. And that is going to help me overcome whatever resistance my brain was previously giving me and now I don’t even experience that resistance. I’m just done smoking. And they quit, cold turkey. So I think really reducing your brain’s resistance is so key to help you take the next step.
And then another part of the answer to keep commitments to yourself that I found that work for a lot of people is really having a system in place that they know works for them. So when it comes to my daughter, I can just write it in my calendar and once it’s in my calendar or a dentist appointment or a doctor’s appointment, when it’s in my calendar, it’s as good as gold. It’s as good as done. I don’t need any more systems in place other than that to make me do the thing I want to be doing. So that’s one aspect of a system.
And I know that that works for me in those categories but that’s not enough when it comes to, I take a long hiatus from the gym, putting the gym or exercise on my calendar, it’s not that simple. I need more to my system in order to do that. So things that I have seen work for people and things that have worked for me in the past, a lot of times it’s enlisting others. Having an accountability partner or if you enjoy working out with somebody and that makes it more fun for you then by all means if that works in that category of your life then do it.
I know some people get a coach or a tutor when they are falling short of who they need in their life, a tutor usually for kids or a coach, if you want to get better at something in your life or learn new skills in order to stay accountable and on point to what you want to now morph into or up-level your life to. And this really can be a game changer for a lot of people, just having somebody there to hold us accountable can really help us get over that initial resistance.
I think another way that helps for a lot of people that I’ve seen is to make it fun. When things are fun they’re more likely to be sustainable. And so that could be, going back to my point earlier, enlisting others, having accountability or just doing something with somebody else. So if you do like exercising with somebody you go exercising with somebody. If you like going on a walk with your dog and that’s enjoyable, you take your dog and go on walks.
But making it fun so it is pleasurable and the brain wants to do it and that’s going to increase the likelihood of making it part of your lifestyle long term. Now, there are times when I get so jazzed about something that I want to learn all about it. So I’ve been doing that with blood glucose. I’m just so intrigued now how much sugar is in everything. I’m learning all kinds of stuff from all kinds of books and podcasts. And I just can’t get enough. And back in May I bought myself a continuous glucose monitor.
Not that I have diabetes but I really wanted to understand how my food choices were impacting by blood sugar. And following that data, excited me, it made it more fun. So I love to monitor things. I loved data. I’m a data geek. So following that continuous glucose monitor was awesome for me, it really motivated, it really kept me engaged. It really kept me learning. I was taking notes about what works, what doesn’t, when I need to eat more protein, when my sugar content was too high based on the graphs that I was seeing.
And so that made the process more fun and more delightful for me. And I stuck on track more so than I normally would have. So it’s really finding that system that works for you. I know some people love a watch that does the steps, how many steps they’re getting per day, to increase movement in their life. Some people use apps to track their macros or to track their foods or to track their calories.
I know on this podcast I talked about looking at planning your drinks and looking at your weekly drink count. That has really helped me because I really wanted to know was I getting the results that I wanted. I also tracked how many cravings I was having and I loved it when I saw that my cravings went dramatically down week after week after week. And so I developed that system to hold me accountable to myself and see the data and see the progress.
Some people like to cross days off on a list. Some people like counting days. I’m not a fan of that myself but I know it’s worked for others, so finding that system that works for you.
Another part of this system that works for you is considered and called a forcing function. I’ve learned this from Dr. Benjamin Hardy, he talks about forcing functions all the time because it helps us level up quicker. And so that could be just setting a deadline for yourself. That could be signing up for a program because any time you financially commit to something you are increasing the skin you have in the game. It could be devoting more time to something so that time commitment, that’s also telling your brain and signaling back to you that you are devoting more of yourself to this priority.
And then some people love challenges. They love a five day challenge, a 10 day challenge. And these are ways really to gamify the system and gamify the process so that you’re having fun along the way, while meeting your goals. And the last one I’ll throw out about designing a system that works for you, I know this is something we do inside of EpicYOU is your big three. What are the big three things that you will get done in a day? And these are the three things that just aren’t to-do’s, they’re actually things that move the needle on your biggest priorities.
And I love the quote by Jim Collins in the book Good to Great. He says if you have more than three priorities, you don’t have any. So these big three, I don’t want you to think of them as three to-do’s, do the grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning. No, they’re not to-do lists. They are the three major things that you are going to do for the day that have the biggest impact on the priorities that you are working on now.
So if you’re looking at losing weight, what are the three things you want to do that day that are going to have the biggest impact on maximizing your weight loss? And you don’t have to have three. It could be just one or two that are going to be the most impactful. Or maybe you want to launch a podcast. So what are the big three things that you need to do today that are going to move the needle in launching that podcast?
Now, these are things that you are going to do. There aren’t things you are not going to do. So I don’t want the stop doing list as part of your big three. You can have a separate stop doing list. And I know that Jim Collins recommends that, but he’s writing for entrepreneurs and businesspeople. And while that can be helpful for some people, trying to increase their health and wellness. I’ve also seen it backfire for some people. So you really have to know yourself and really ask yourself, would that stop doing list help you or not.
And here’s the thing, if you find that it helps you, by all means, do it. And so what I want you to see on this podcast and what I want you to hear is really that reflection is a practice that we’re doing to constantly redefine your life to optimize for what you want, optimize for your biggest priorities. And those priorities change throughout our life. They may include kids, they may not include kids. So things do change over the course of our life. In our 20s, maybe we’re not so worried about our health but maybe in our 50s and 60s we get more worried about it or it becomes a priority in a different way or our goals around our health are different.
So doing this reflection process is all about learning about yourself so you know how to lead yourself. So you know how to advocate for what matters most to you. And I did a whole podcast on self-leadership that you can go back and listen to. But really prioritizing yourself. A lot of times we don’t keep commitments to ourself because we have an inner dialog that says I’m not as important as such and such or that’s not that important or I’m not enough or that’s not worthy enough of a goal.
Or if I start prioritizing myself, somebody else or something else in my life will suffer. That is a big one my friends, and that one you really have to dig deep and see if that’s really true because oftentimes what’s true is the direct opposite. The more you increase your health, the more you increase your wellness, the better you feel, you have actually more energy and more time to do the things that matter to you. We think it’s going to take away from our job or take away from our family time. And I want to say that is all resistance coming from the brain.
And the only way to know if it’s true is to go out and do it and prove to yourself, did it take away family time or did you just restructure your family time to look differently but yet you were more alert and you were happier when you were with them so maybe the quality went up. And so that really begs to say, how am I measuring quality time with my family, is it quality, is it quantity, is it both? And we all know that taking better care of ourselves, our health and our wellness, we are going to have more quantity with our family because we live longer and we feel better.
So these are some tools that you can use so that you keep your commitments to yourself. Remember, it’s not a perfectionistic game. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s just like a plane that takes off from San Diego and it’s headed to Newark. The plane is off course most of the time, all planes are off course most of the time. They have to keep readjusting and reevaluating based on winds, the latitude, the turbulence, the weather patterns. But in the end they get to where they’re supposed to go but they’re off course most of the time by a couple of degrees here and there.
So that being said, this is not a one time exercise, I do this once and I’m good for the rest of my life. No, this is a constant assessment, reflection and modification. You keep the system as long as it keeps working and giving you the results, but then sometimes you want different results or more results or less results. Or something in your life has pivoted and now you need to change your system.
But I find that keeping the main thing, the main thing, leads to greater satisfaction and happiness in life and this is how we become epic, which is my definition of epic is healthy, confident and empowered. And when I use this process that I’ve outlined here, it helps me do the things that I’ve put off for years that I said I valued. This process not only gives me clarity but it also gives me a system and so it’s golden to me.
And so I hope this podcast is golden for you and helps you keep your commitments to yourself and this process can help you feel epic in your life. Alright, my friend, so good to be with you again. I love you and I will see you next week.
If you want to change your relationship with alcohol and with yourself then come check out EpicYOU. It’s where you get individualized health mastering the tools so you And become a woman who And take it or leave it and be in control around alcohol in any situation. EpicYOU is the place for women who want to be healthy, confident and empowered to accomplish their goals and live their best life. Come join us over at epicyou.com/epicyou. That’s epicyou.com/ E-P-I-C-Y-O-U. I can’t wait to see you there.