I recently came across the story of Rich Roll, a man who went from being an overweight alcoholic to being one of the fittest, healthiest men in the world—all due to a change, not only in his way of eating, but his way of being in the world.
It’s likely we all have addictive personalities to some degree, but not every addiction is visible. Just because our addiction is obsessive worrying, or nagging, or pornography, or complaining, or approval, or being right, doesn’t make it any less an addiction. Lesser addictions stay hidden by the simple fact that they’re covert. Other “lesser” addictions are accepted by society and because they’re so common, no one sees them as addictions.
Sometimes these addictions are even glorified—addiction to success and money, to physical beauty, to food, to security, to perfection, to feeling superior over others via religion, political views or knowledge.
But, as long as they remain hidden and unacknowledged, addictions are damaging to us and those around us.
An inspiring conclusion that can be drawn from Rich’s story is that addiction is actually misdirected passion. All the energy, time and focus that once went into alcohol and escapism were redirected in his life so that now he is living out the opposite of what he once was. He’s using all the same tools he already had. He’s just redirecting them into something that feeds his soul and his life rather than sucks life out.
Whatever your struggle—whether visible to others or invisible, whether hidden or revealed—if you direct your energy and focus it towards creating what you do want rather than avoiding what you don’t want, you will likely see miraculous results.
Here are ten ways to help you get started:
1. Acknowledge that you can’t go on like you have. Admit you can’t do it on your own. Turn to a power greater than yourself, whether that is the God you believe in, or a supportive community, or both. It’s humbling to admit we don’t have something under control, but it’s a lot less exhausting than trying repeatedly to overcome something that we’re clearly not overcoming.
2. Change your thinking by replacing disempowering thoughts with empowering thoughts. Where you focus your mind, your energy follows. Find ways of thinking that fill you with energy, hope and confidence. As you form new patterns of thinking and acting, your brain creates new neuropathways that will eventually make the new thoughts and actions the norm for you.
3. Become aware of the words that are coming out of your mouth. Know that, as Hafiz said, “The words you speak become the house you live in.” Think of each word you speak as being the brick and mortar of the life you want to be living.
4. Stop saying mean things to yourself. Life is hard enough without chanting disempowering words over yourself. If you’re working on improving, give yourself credit for your willingness and tenacity.
5. Start saying kind things to yourself. Talk to yourself as you would to a good friend or someone you truly care about. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Notice that includes you. Speak kindly both to yourself and to others.
6. Be intentional about your actions. This will flow more easily if you’re already thinking differently. Decide what you want to change and take small steps towards transformation. It may be difficult, but difficult isn’t the same as impossible.
7. Tell someone. Talk to someone you know won’t judge you or try to rush your process, someone you know will come alongside and cheer you on as you take on the brave challenge of change. Not only will it give you accountability, it will give you momentum and courage.
8. Notice. Start noticing how, little by little, what once seemed impossible to change is becoming easier. You’ll see how you and your brain are working together to form new habits to replace the old ones.
9. Be gentle with yourself. If no one else is around to do so, remind yourself that just starting on this journey is a huge hurdle you’ve overcome. Celebrate your willingness and bravery.
10. Don’t give up. Ever. Any great work takes time and effort and a lot of faith to keep going. Read and watch inspiring stories of people who overcame great odds to motivate and encourage you.
You get to take part in recreating the story you’re living by telling yourself a different story and you will be planting seeds to a better, healthier, more fulfilling life. And like Rich Roll, you may go on to be a world influencer that others look to for inspiration on overcoming seeming impossibilities.
Author: Monique Amado
Editor: Caroline Beaton
Photo: Google images for reuse