Take a Break
Why You Struggle With Commitment Part 2
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When you commit to only having two drinks and then find yourself taking a sip of a third, what you do next is immensely important.
The moment right after breaking your commitment is when you can decide to re-commit to changing your drinking.
Find out why no matter how many times you break your commitment to drinking less, you can always intervene and get back on track. Learn how to bring awareness to that moment so you can consciously decide what you want to do next.
What You’ll Discover
The problem with how you normally deal with drinking when you didn’t want to.
Why screwing up your commitment doesn’t mean you have to keep drinking.
How to bring awareness to the moment you took an unplanned sip.
Featured on the show
You are listening to the Take A Break podcast with Rachel Hart, Episode 323.
Whether you want to drink less or stop drinking, this podcast will help you change the habit from the inside out. We’re challenging conventional wisdom about why people drink and why it can be hard to resist temptation. No labels, no judgment, just practical tools to take control of your desire and stop worrying about your drinking. Now, here’s your host, Rachel Hart.
All right, welcome back, everybody. We are talking about commitment. I’ve been doing a series on commitment, and this is Part two; why you’re struggling with your commitment. If you haven’t listened to Part one, I really suggest you go back and listen to it. It’s all about that moment immediately before you give in to the urge, immediately before you listen to that excuse, and why finding that sentence is so important.
So often, we don’t look. We don’t want to look. It’s like, “Oh, I screwed up.” It’s either, “I screwed up and I make it mean that I’m never going to figure things out. Or let’s just pretend that didn’t happen, and just start over.” Now, the problem with both of those approaches is they don’t actually help us gain awareness about what’s happening in the moment.
Because so often, what happens when we break a commitment is not just that we break it by a little bit, we break it by a lot. Now, I think most people just think that’s the way things go. When you break a commitment, you break it by a lot. But it really isn’t teaching people that you can intervene at any point. That is such powerful information to have.
I was coaching someone the other day, and they were talking about a commitment that they had broken. And one of the things that they were saying is they had a commitment for two glasses, and then they went over to that third class.
And then, because they have been doing this work, instead of the third glass turning into the fourth and the fifth, and you know, just forgetting everything that happened, even though she had broken her commitment, she actually stopped and put down the glass of wine and switch to water.
Now, I will tell you this, that never would have occurred to me back in the day, right? It was like the moment that I broke a commitment, the moment that I failed, it’s like, “Oh, well, I screwed up. So, I might as well just go all in.” But really, learning and understanding, it’s okay. Even if this happens, you can still teach your brain something new. You can change the habit of “I break my commitment; therefore, it’s all lost. Therefore, I’m just going to go totally overboard.”
You can break your commitment, and then still decide to stop. And that’s why it’s so important when you’re really understanding, “Okay, so why am I struggling with my commitment?” When we set aside all of the explanations that we want to come up with. Like, “I’m just not a very disciplined person. You know, I start out strong, but then my motivation fades away. I don’t like doing hard things.”
We have all of these excuses for why we’re struggling with commitment. But when we set that all aside, and just look at that think-feel-act cycle, what was happening? What most people will say to me is, “Rachel, but I don’t know. I’m not sure.” I always say, “Take a guess. You’re going to learn so much more by taking a guess than just being in this place of ‘I’m not sure’.” What was happening in the moment?
So, last episode was all about that moment right before you gave in. And right now, we’re talking all about that moment immediately after, not three drinks later. I’m talking about right after that first sip, when you’re like, “Oh, I said I wasn’t going to do that.” What happens then?
Inside Take a Break, we use this exercise called “assessing what happened”. And you can use that during the 30-day period, you can use that beyond, it doesn’t matter. If you’re trying to say no or you’re trying to drink less, it really always applies.
Assessing what happened is all about kind of bringing real awareness, is kind of like going over the scene with a fine-tooth comb. Now, this can be challenging at first, when we’re used to making it mean that “I broke my commitment, therefore I’m a screw up.” Right? We often don’t want to go over it with a fine-tooth comb because we have so much shame.
I find that that really is the first place where so many people need to start practicing doing the work. It’s practicing, okay, your knee-jerk reaction is to make this mean that you are bad, you were wrong, you screwed up, something’s wrong with you. Your knee-jerk is to slip into shame when you break your commitment.
But the problem is, when you slip into shame, then you’re going to want to turn away from what happened. And in order to change, in order to create something new, I need you to turn towards. That’s why it’s so important to be in an environment where people aren’t judging you. Where people don’t think, “Hey, we know what’s right. You were really bad. Yeah, it was really stupid to drink that much. You shouldn’t have had that much.”
You need to be in a space where there is no judgment. I think that’s one of the most profound differences from everything else that’s out there. Right? Truly believing, this is one of my core beliefs. I don’t know what is best for you. I’m never going to shame you. I’m never going to make you feel bad. I’m never going to coach anybody and in the back of my mind thinking, “Oh, I mean, that really is too much. Really shouldn’t have done that.”
To be in that space of non-judgement. That space of really, truly, knowing that people are here for you. To help you understand what’s happening in your mind. To help you figure this out. Not to try to convince you to head in some direction that they think is best for you.
But when you go through what happened, with that fine-tooth comb, it’s so fascinating. Because then you get to see, okay, so you broke your commitment. You had that sip, what did you make it mean? We don’t think that we’re making it mean anything, right?
This is a space where we get into, “Oh, yeah, my drinking just happened. It just happened that I drank that much.” So much of the work that I do is really helping people see that just because you start drinking alcohol, and just because it’s intoxicating, it doesn’t mean that the think-feel-act cycle stops working.
You may not have full awareness. You may not be used to paying attention. You may, sometimes at first, have to take a guess. But I promise, you can build so much awareness around these moments. You look at it, and you see, “Okay, I have this commitment. And then I broke the commitment. In that moment, that moment that I had that sip, what did I make it mean? What did I make it mean about the rest of the night? What did I make it mean about my ability to change?”
It’s so important to see that we actually do assign meaning to this moment. And the meaning that we assign will then dictate what happens next. Because when you feel defeated… you’re like, “I knew I couldn’t do it.” When you tell yourself, “Who cares? Effort doesn’t matter.” Those thoughts then create emotions, that will dictate what happens next.
I can’t even tell you the number of times I had in my life where I’d be like, “Okay, I’m not going to have anything. I’m only going to have one.” And so, I would have this commitment, I’m not going to drink, I’m only going to have one. And then, the moment that I broke the commitment, it was like I was off to the races.
And I, so often, then made that mean afterwards, not in the moment, but afterwards, I would make that mean, “Oh, yeah, I don’t have any control. Once I start, I can’t stop.” Instead of understanding that I have these thoughts of, “Well, I mean, you screwed up, you didn’t follow through again. So, you might as well enjoy yourself.”
I didn’t understand that, that moment. That moment, right after I broke my commitment, I had thoughts and feelings that were then the leading to the decisions about how much I would drink next. It’s no wonder why, for the longest time, those moments where I would break my commitment, then I would just be out of control.
And they would just be like, “Alright, well, I said I was going to have one, but then I had a second. So, let’s have sex.” Right? But here’s the thing, once you start to understand that, once you start to see, “Oh, I was thinking something in the moment. I was making it mean, who cares? I screwed up again,” or whatever it is, and that it did make me feel something.
That feeling did then contribute to me having a second sip. Lifting the glass up again to my mouth for another. That’s why I think it’s so powerful. With that example that I was telling you about, about someone inside the membership, who was saying, “Yeah, I broke my commitment, but I had this awareness and then I stopped. Instead of letting it turn into ‘I said I was only going to have two and then I screwed up.’ And then I ended up like, the night was just lost, right?’”
No, she was like, “Oh, I see what’s happening here. I can make a different decision. That’s the thing that Rachel is always teaching, you can make a different decision, you can intervene at any point.”
Because otherwise, what your brain is learning, the lesson that you are reinforcing in your brain is, “If I’m not perfect, then forget it, all is lost. It’s either perfect or nothing.” But I want you to think about it this way. I want you to think of, your commitment was for two. I want you to think about the difference between ‘I had two, and then an additional sip of a third, and then I stopped. Then I switched to water.’ Versus ‘I had two, then an additional Sip in the third. And then I had another and another.’
There’s a huge difference there. Right? Just in quantity, there’s a huge difference. But even if we set quantity aside for a second, there’s such a powerful piece of ‘hey, just because I wasn’t perfect, doesn’t mean that I can’t change. It doesn’t mean that I can’t intervene.’ So, you start to see that, really, change is not about being perfect. Because you truly can intervene at any moment.
I mean, think about this, with so many things in life, whatever your goal is, it’s like, ‘Oh, well, I said, I was going to go to the gym, and then I didn’t go to the gym. And I screwed up. So then, all the sudden, the whole week is lost.’ Well, the whole week is lost, we decide not to go again, only because of what we’ve made it mean.
Think about all the times that you’ve put that second helping on your plate that you said you wouldn’t. It’s like, having a bite from the second helping does not obligate you to eat it. But all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘well, I put the food on my plate. So. I might as well.’
We don’t actually recognize how much power we have, even in the moments where we did something that we didn’t want to do. That’s how you create change. Is really recognizing the power that you have, along every step of the process, every step of this journey. From the moment that you set a commitment, the moment that it comes time to follow through, the moment that you break that commitment, what you make that mean in the split second after, what you make it mean the next day.
All of these moments are moments to intervene. But you will miss out on that. You will miss out on all the different pieces of intervention, if you think that the goal is only to be perfect. Because if the goal is only to be perfect, then it’s like ‘alright, well I already wasn’t perfect.’
So, it won’t even cross your mind to intervene after that next step. It won’t even cross your mind to intervene after the next one. It won’t cross your mind to intervene the next day because you’ll just be in a shame spiral. Because you were bad, and you screwed up and you did something wrong.
Again, think about it this way. What would you need to believe in that moment, about change and your ability to change, to have broken your commitment, and not the next day, but in that next moment, show up differently? That’s one of the most powerful things that you can teach yourself. When you teach yourself that lesson around alcohol; this is what I love about this work, it really is a meta skill; you can apply it anywhere.
All right, everybody. That’s it for today. I will see you next week.
Okay, listen up. Changing your drinking is so much easier than you think. Whether you want to drink less or not at all, you don’t need more rules or willpower. You need a logical framework that helps you understand and, more importantly, change the habit from the inside out.
It starts with my 30-Day Challenge. Besides the obvious health benefits, taking a break from drinking is the fastest way to figure out what’s really behind your desire. This radically different approach helps you succeed by dropping the perfectionism and judgment that blocks change.
Decide what works best for you when it comes to drinking. Discover how to trust yourself and feel truly empowered to take it or leave it. Head on over to www.RachelHart.com/join and start your transformation today.