Making a change around alcohol (or sugar or exercise) takes motivation. We get inspired or fed up and we feel highly motivated to make a change. For some of us, our alcohol-free journey started from a place of desperation which equaled motivation. You may have heard the saying “sick and tired of being sick and tired”, or “when the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change, we change”. But, while motivation gets us started, it isn’t enough. Motivation comes and goes.. We can all think of examples, personal or with others, that illustrate this phenomenon: the empty gyms on January 15th; the diet we will start on Monday; the half-finished closet clean out. Motivation is key to getting started but the real change agent is momentum.
Momentum is what keeps us in action. And, the beautiful part about momentum is that energy creates energy. So, being in momentum = more momentum. Let’s think about our AF journey: we start out motivated, either from a place of pain or a place of possibility. We take a step forward (read a quit-lit book, hire a coach, join a support program) and we are in momentum. We no longer have to rely on motivation because we are already moving forward. Motivation will come and go but momentum is always available. I never expect my clients to stay continually motivated as they go through this transformation, instead we work together to create routines, habits and thoughts that support momentum. This is key to creating lasting change.
If you have been frustrated by your inability to get started, stay motivated and create change, here’s what you need to know about motivation and momentum:
Motivation is a feeling; momentum is an action.
Motivation answers the WHY; momentum is the HOW.
Motivation is fleeting; momentum is always available.
Motivation helps us get started – use it!
Momentum helps us continue the thing we started – use it!
Tools to stay in momentum:
- Create a schedule/routine
- Find accountability – a coach or a group, or be accountable to your future self
- Celebrate each small achievement; positive emotion = lasting change
- Focus on the activity vs. the outcome; with enough activity the outcome is guaranteed
- Compassion – use self-compassion to stay in action, especially when things don’t go as planned
Pitfalls to avoid:
- Beware of unrealistic goals – often people who are removing alcohol try and do a whole makeover at the same time
- Detach from the outcome; focus on momentum
- Pay attention to motion vs. action; motion is often ‘busy work’ or procrastination or justification. Action is taking risks, trying new things and stepping out of our comfort zone.
- Beware of worry; worry often masquerades as action because it feels like we are doing something (spoiler alert: we are actually spinning vs. moving forward)
- Watch out for comparison – this can derail us from momentum and bring us to a full stop
I hope this framework helps when you feel stuck – we are all capable of lasting change. By tapping into human nature we can live our life by design and not by default!
If you are looking for 1:1 support to make a change around alcohol, let’s connect here.If you are alcohol-free but feeling stuck with the next steps to creating a more meaningful life, join the waitlist for The SELF Experience program here.
I can’t wait to help you step into momentum!
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