I know you just made resolutions, but don’t try to stop smoking. Don’t give up booze. Don’t throw out your pot. Don’t ditch the donuts.
While you’re at it, don’t join the gym. Don’t try to meditate every day. Don’t promise to get over your money issues. Don’t resolve to lose twenty pounds.
Don’t quit the job you hate. Don’t leave your deadbeat boyfriend. Don’t try to be a better mother/ daughter/ friend. Don’t give up internet porn.
Don’t finish that novel. Don’t sign up for that art class. Don’t declutter your house. Don’t get out of debt.
When you make promises to yourself before you’re ready to make big change, you just prove to yourself what you’ve suspected all along - that you don’t have the willpower, you’re not trustworthy, and you never follow through on your word.
You pay big bucks to Jenny Craig, but you never follow the program. You sign up for the art class, but you don’t start painting. You look at your computer, but you don’t write your novel. You look up 12 step programs but then you never go. You sign up for that green juice cleanse and then you never cleanse. You pay the $99 every month, but you don’t actually go to the gym. You make a budget but then you don’t follow it. You break up with your boyfriend and two days later, you sleep with him. You try to quit your job until they offer you a raise and you get sucked in again.
Every time you make a promise to yourself that you don’t keep, you feel like shit. And when you feel like shit, what do you do? You smoke that cigarette/ eat that ice cream/ start jonesing for that drug or that sex or your couch potato lifestyle. When you make promises to yourself that you don’t keep, you make the habit worse.
Instead, wait until you’ve decided it’s really time.
Draw the line in the sand.
Refuse to accept anything less than 100% recovery.
Know that this time, it’s for real. And mean it.
But until you’re 1000% on board with your decision, don’t kick the habit. Give yourself permission to buy that pack of cigarettes or that bottle of wine or that blunt. Love yourself as you smoke or drink or get high. Love yourself as you lounge on the sofa and binge on potato chips. Love yourself as you overspend, overindulge, oversex, overgive, overprocrastinate. Cancel the gym membership. Drop out of the art class. Close your computer. Get off the scale. Inhale all the way.
And love yourself just as you are, for every little flaw that makes you who you are, for better or for worse.
When you do, something magical will happen. At some point, when you least expect it, in the midst of this lovefest, a spark will catch fire. The flame will grow. The light will outshine the darkness. The darkness will no longer be able to resist the light.
When you love yourself so much, in spite of your imperfections, you will hit a point on some future day, and it will come when you least expect it. It won’t be a resolution or a promise or anything they make you do in rehab. It will come from within, and it will be easy, and it will be permanent.
One day, you will love yourself so much that you will decide you’re done with the habit, you’re ready to accomplish the goal, and the time is now.
If that time isn’t here yet, you will never succeed in quitting, no matter how much you try to convince yourself you want to quit. Your failure will be guaranteed, and then you will prove to yourself - once again - what a loser you are.
But you’re not a loser, my love. You just haven’t decided yet. And that’s okay. I forgive you, so please forgive yourself.
Until you decide the time is now, you might as well give yourself permission to enjoy that cigarette, to breathe it in, to breathe it out, and to throw your arms out as you do…
Is now the time?
Loving you just the way you are,
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Revolutionary, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
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