We all have experienced these. You know, those tough situations where you “just know” you’re going to be tempted to cheat. The reasons to do so are sooooo good! It’s little Johnnie’s birthday, your anniversary, the Superbowl, the first day of Spring, Sunday, the day after you didn’t cheat….the list goes on and on.
First thing to know is there NEVER will be a perfect hour, day, week, month or year in which you will not be challenged to QUIT. Ever. Nope. It isn’t going to happen. So stop kidding yourself and decide YOU are going to make it go right right now, today, this week, this month, this year.
Good. Now that you’re completely overwhelmed, let’s discuss an old 12 Step Program adage which seems appropriate here, “One Day at a Time.” If you can make it 10 minutes through some of the toughest workouts you’ve ever done, you can make it just one more minute, hour, or day through that hunger pang that is telling you a chocolate shake sounds really good right about now.
Remember, it is only temporary. Whatever it is you are feeling is fleeting. And as suddenly as it descended upon you, it will leave. Really.
So what can you do to help yourself stay on track during these tough situations? Here are some of the tools we’ve found useful over challenges gone by:
1. Call a Friend. Yep. Just like in Alcoholics Anonymous, members are drilled to pick up the phone and call someone when the urge to drink or use overcomes them. You’ve got friends who care about you. Right now, before you do anything else, send a quick email or Facebook message to 5 of your closes friends. Let them know what you are trying to do, and ask the in advance if they’d be willing to help talk you down should you find yourself standing on the cliff edge of a drastic cheat.
2. See It Through to the End. Visualize how you will feel after you cheat. Feel that guilt, that remorse, that feeling of failure. See the disappointment you’ll experience in your face as you have to face your spouse again to let the know you once again just couldn’t do it. I find this to be highly effective. We all know what it feels like to admit defeat, especially when we’ve promised others (and more importantly ourselves) compliance so many times.
3. Create a Back Up Plan. Right now, write down 3 things you can do “just in case”. I recommend some of these: have some pre-made date snacks for those after dinner sweet cravings, keep your desk drawer filled with beef jerky strips and daily packed fresh vegetables, drink lots of water, go to bed (late at night) instead of eating. I also recommend keeping some sort of safe food in your car (apple, jerky), as the urge to cheat often hits us on our way home from a long day at work.
4. Get More Sleep. The number one time people cheat is after work, before dinner. They’re tired and hungry, they’re too impatient to wait to cook, and they want something now. Don’t do it. Eat, then go to bed. Now, I know this goes against everything you’ve heard, but instead of snacking, have your normal healthy dinner, then get some sleep. If you’re craving sugar, your body’s usually tired anyway. Make it happy and get more sleep.