Morning After Strength

I’ve done it a million times. Make these huge declarations of change, just after I do something that I know is bad for myself.

I wake up from a hangover and pronounce that I am never drinking again. At least not for a while. And I mean it. A lot of people mean it when they say things like this. With smoking. With eating unhealthy foods. With doing drugs. I guarantee, that anything, that anyone considers bad for themselves, has been sworn off at least a million times. And then 12 hours later, I’m sitting there with a drink in my hand. With a half-eaten donut in my mouth.

Whatever your donut is, I’m guessing you’ve eaten it too.

It’s so easy to proclaim you will never eat a food, when your belly is full. That you’ll never have another drink, in the midst of a miserable hang-over. That you’re really going to get serious about work, after you just went through another day at the office by not doing anything productive.

It’s easy to say tomorrow will be different. You aren’t faced with the decision right now. You are wallowing in the misery of your guilt. In the reality of your behavior. You are now faced with the direct consequences of your actions. You just indulged. In short term gratifying, but ultimately destructive behavior. In things that you know are not good for you. And at that moment, with your thirst quenched, why do you need another drink?

Through that declaration, you’re trying to show strength. But morning after strength is meaningless. It’s useless.

Don’t flex your muscles while crawling out from the bed under which you hid, after the bully leaves the room. Stand up and face him like a man when he’s in your face. When he is challenging you. You have inside of you, the power to beat whatever it is you want to beat.

You just need to show strength when you are most vulnerable. Flex your muscles when they need to be flexed.

When you are going out that night, and you’ve already had a bunch of drinks, and someone orders shots…when you are out and someone asks you to have a cigarette…on a rainy Monday, when someone tries to get you to blow off work…those are the times you are the most vulnerable…those are the weak moments…those are the times you need to show strength.

Remember, we are what we think. So think about it right now. In a moment when you’re not faced with the possibility of doing something destructive. Think about those times when you are going to need strength. Think about the times when those decisions are going to be made. Envision yourself making the right decisions. Making the right choices. Think about the positive consequences of correct choices. Then, in those moments, go ahead and make the right decisions.

It’s that simple.

A lot of people email me about wanting their lives to be better. It oftentimes just comes to this: the path to a better life can be as simple as eliminating self-destructive behavior. You have this within your power already. Your mind, your will, is as strong as you want it to be. It’s as strong as you make it.

Sometimes doing what is going to make you immediately happy and what is right for you, are one in the same. Even if they are perceived as potentially destructive behavior. You want to have another drink? Go ahead. You want to smoke? Go ahead. That’s all fine, if it’s fine for you.

But I’ve heard people lament over those decisions. Over those nights. I’ve seen people regret months or years of their lives at a time. They really don’t want to do what they just did. I’ve been there. I still go there sometimes. A lot of people chalk those times up to the fact that they have no will power. That’s a lie. That’s a cop out. Will power doesn’t exist. Not really. You are faced with choices all the time. If you feel you have no will power, you just make bad choices…regularly. Think of how that puts the onus on you and not some trait that you have that you can’t control. You just don’t want to sacrifice, what is ultimately meaningless short-term happiness, for long-term personal benefits.

Show some real strength at the time when you need it, and do what’s really right for you.