It started with a public declaration on social media to not drink alcohol for four weeks, which didn’t quite go to plan but ended up being so much more. In this post, I share what February Fast taught me about myself and life.
1: When you deny yourself something, it pops up everywhere
February started on a Monday this year, but all I could think about on my way to work that morning was not being able to drink…on a Monday?! No, I am not an alcoholic by any standard and I have never been one to drink on Mondays, but that’s what happens when you consciously try to avoid things – our Ego seizes the fear and reminds us of it every second of the day.
Lesson: Denial is a form of fear, and you will be doomed to fail if you attempt to avoid things out of fear. Instead, focus on “crowding-in” something positive. For me, this was to drink more (quality) water.
2: We humans are creatures of habit
Drinking alcohol every day is just one of these habits. During the first week of the month I started to ask myself, why do really I drink alcohol? Part of the answer, or so I thought, was to relax. Then I realised that I could relax just the same over a glass of coconut water or Kombucha. It wasn’t the alcohol, it was the ritual of sipping a beverage that I connected with relaxation.
Lesson: It takes at least 2 to 3 weeks to break a habit, and the same amount of time to form a new one. Keep asking yourself, “why am I doing this?” and “what feeling am I really seeking?”. When that feeling becomes clear, choose a positive way to attain it.
3: Quality sleep does wonders for the physical body, let alone the calmness it brings to the mind
Drinking alcohol during the week really does disrupt my sleep, which only became apparent to me when I stopped. I found that I woke up feeling more rested and had greater clarity of the mind, which gave me a better start to the day.
Lesson: Better sleep leads to a better start to your day. Avoiding stimulants and depressants such as alcohol will help to reduce stress on the body and allow you to cope better with modern-day life. Your hormones will also thank you for giving them a break!
4: Daily meditation gave me strength
During the month I remained committed to my daily practice of listening to Melissa Ambrosini‘s Mastering Your Mean Girl Meditations, particularly those around choosing love over fear and feeling vital. Those meditations really helped me through some challenging days at work where I was pulled in every direction. This was because I was able to pull back and remind myself that I have complete control over how I react to the chaos around me. In fact, life is only chaos if I choose it to be so.
Lesson: A daily meditation practice, even if it is just 5 or 10 minutes, reminds us that we have the power to change our thinking in every moment.
5: I am not perfect!
So I must admit that I failed to avoid drinking alcohol for the whole month, but I am not going to beat myself up about it. The best part of failing was that I discovered that it felt ok! Accepting my failure and being totally conscious when I did have a drink gave me a whole new appreciation for why I was drinking in the first place… just because! As soon as I disconnected the drinking to a certain feeling, I was able to move straight on with love and kindness towards myself. No longer did the glass of wine have any power over my day or my way of thinking. I finally felt free!
Lesson: Accept your failures with love and kindness. Learn from them… and then let it go.
February changed me on the inside and outside, just from a simple choice to break a habit. I can’t wait to share more inspiring posts with you about my ongoing journey.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below if you chose the month of February to break a habit or are inspired to try it this month!