Own Your Vices

Beer, Cigarettes, Cinnamon Rolls, Ice Cream… The list of possible VICES is a long one. Do you have control? Or do they? Here is how to control the seemingly uncontrollable…

Do you really need that? Yes that, whatever that is… Could you do without it? Another careless consumption of something to make you happy, only to diminish momentarily… perhaps that that is another cookie, or donut, maybe a beer or biscuit or 3… perhaps your that is not edible at all, maybe more shoes, a cigarette or electronics. This that I refer to we know as a vice; something we cannot live without. Some of us are aware of the that we don’t need, we hope and we plan to get control. Others find out just just a little too late that your vice does the planning for you…
So, be aware. Live your life aware; get to know yourself enough to decide. “Can I live with my vice?”… “do I have control?”… “do I really have control?”… “do I battle myself on a regular basis?”… “is my conscious guilty or has It simply become numb?”…
Think: get to know yourself on a very personal level. Do not be afraid or ashamed to set an appointment with yourself to ask the more serious questions in which only You know the answers. When you become aware of your vices you can begin to control them. Set your boundaries and have plans in place. For me? My vice is a goof craft beer, and some ice cream (hopefully not at the same time). I have control of my vices and am aware that they’re there waiting to tempt me if I let them. So how do I keep from splurging again and letting myself get lost in the momentary bliss they will bring? What’s the trick to keep control and not let my vices control me?.. I will share with you my techniques to controlling even some of the most difficult scenarios, and I encourage you to take the time with yourself to find out if they will work for you as well.

It all begins with a mindset. A positive frame of mind will always outweigh a negative one. As the late great Dale Carnegie says, “any argument is futile” because as one side of the argument digs their heels deeper into their opinion, the other side will do the same. This senseless act will only create more tension and anxiety until we reach a breaking point. In his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People Carnegie refers to this as a “futile act against an opponent.” I would like to suggest that the same advice applies to ourselves. We have internal battles with ourselves about all kinds of decisions, but none more inevitable than those battles we endure with our vices… “Is it really worth it?”… “Do I really need it?”… Our internal dialog is very real and in some of us, very loud. If we battle our conscious with a negative mindset and focus on the detrimental effects that a vice will bring then we will never win. Even if we do win and deny ourselves of the oh so rewarding prize that we know our vice will bring, we walk away from this battle feeling somewhat sad and nostalgic of the times we have so bountifully indulged in the past… This is far from beneficial and will almost have done more harm than good, even though you “won” your internal battle and said “no”. The cortisol and adrenal spike your body is feeling due to the stress of making such a difficult decision has left your body, mind and spirit in a withered state until it finds a way to refill it’s needs. So, do not argue with yourself.
Instead, when your that is in front of you and it’s time to make that tough decision again. Know that you are just fine. Smile because you’ve been here before and you can walk away Un- phased. Here are my 5 simple steps to win every internal battle:

Step 1) Set up a strategic plan- in a perfect world, you could indulge in your vices all of the time with no negative side effect… But this is not a perfect world. Make a very real plan to set you up for success in dealing with your vices in the world that You live in. Make it realistic. For example, I allow myself to drink beer only on the weekend, and limit myself to only 2 delicious “craftys” before switching to something more “sensible.” If it is a special occasion where I know there will be continued drinking and celebration, my “sensible” switch is generally red win or Tequila and soda with a lime. (Tequila is not distilled with any glutens or offensive anti-nutrients and will not react in the body the same way most hard alcohol will. Soda water is 0 calories, 0 sugar.)
Step 2) Set your “strategic plan” firmly… in an 80:20 rule  -No one can expect perfection. So please, do not strive for it. Understand that your vices especially, have a very strong influence on your normal logic when it comes to decision making so give yourself some space for indulgence. But earn it! And when that 20% of the time is finally here, oh how much more sweet it will all seem. If I have a special occasion that prompts me to have a beer or an ice cream on a weekday, I am straying away from my plan. So then, how can I even it back out to keep me vice-free 80% of the time? You will learn new ways to cope with these situations as they pop up, just remember to self-assess and keep your internal dialogue positive and focused.
Step 3) Focus on the positives!- As discussed earlier, when the battle is upon you, and the tough decision needs to be made, do not dig your heels and instead focus on the benefits of saying “no.”
Step 4) Walk away and don’t look back- Feel cool and confident about winning your battle without even having to draw your sword, your plan was in place and it was executed to perfection.
Step 5) Find something else enjoyable to do immediately after winning your battle, or, if you are truly hungry and not just bored or craving your that, then find something else to fill you up quickly and enjoy every moment of the bigger picture. What’s the bigger picture? You staying on track. You- fitting into that summer bikini, You- with your long awaited six pack abs, You- being healthy! Whatever you choose to focus your attention on after a tough decision, do yourself the favor of doing a very quick personal assessment and ensuring that you are indeed still in a positive mindset. Take in a few long breaths if you need to; focus your attention briefly to the beauty in your surroundings and the part that you are personally playing in the world around you. You have control. You are not a victim. You are a winner, and you have just won again.