In last week’s episode, we discussed perfectionism – what it is and how it holds you back. Take a listen to this podcast if you haven’t already. Then come back here to discover what you can do to start moving forward and leave perfectionism behind.
What do you think you’ll feel once everything is perfect?
Say you want to start drinking less, then you might say you feel satisfied and accomplished.
However, the truth is that these feelings will come and then will go.
But we never arrive.
Even if we change our drinking, our brain always finds something else that it wants to focus on… and this cycle repeats itself. And in those moments when we slip up and overdrink, perfectionistic thoughts become even more toxic. But did you know you can create that feeling of satisfaction and see progress even when things aren’t perfect? Tune in this week to find out how.
If you need help with your perfectionism or any topic we’ve covered here on the podcast, you need to join my monthly membership program, Epic You. You’ll learn how to create the most epic version of you in a community of like-minded women who are taking their life to the next level. Click here for more information. I can’t wait to see you inside.
Are you ready to create an amazing life that you don’t even want to overdrink to escape from? If so, I invite you to join Drink Less Lifestyle by clicking here.
You can download my free guide How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit.
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What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- How to break down your perfectionism and see that, even if it were possible, perfection is not what you want.
- What happens when we believe the lies that perfectionism tells us.
- How to get off the treadmill of perfectionism.
- How to manage your mind and make progress even when you slip up.
Featured on the Show:
- Ready to create a life you love and the best version of you? Check out my latest program, Epic YOU!
- Follow me on Instagram
- My Drink Less Lifestyle Program
- Have a question or topic suggestion for future podcasts? Contact me via Instagram or join my free Facebook group Stop the Overdrinking Habit.
- Ep #45: Perfectionism Holds You Back
- Study: To Err is Human: Building a Safer Healthcare System
Full Episode Transcript:
You are listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle Podcast with Dr. Sherry Price, episode number 46.
Welcome to Drink Less Lifestyle, a podcast for successful women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. If you want to drink less, feel healthier and start loving life again you’re in the right place. Please remember that the information in this podcast does not constitute medical advice. Now, here’s your host, Dr. Sherry Price.
Well, hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I have heard so much great feedback from all of you about last week’s podcast. Thank you for all your comments and for reaching out and telling me how that really resonated for you. And some of you shared with me that you have shared that episode with a friend, so thank you. And yes, share the episodes with anybody that you feel would benefit from hearing this who has an overdrinking habit and wants to get control of it. Because I tell you what, those friends are everywhere. This is not an uncommon problem.
It brings me great joy to share this work with the world, with women, with men, whoever it can help so we can start transforming our lives and our health for the better. And let me tell you, what can be better than that? When you have a more amazing life and you have better health because now you feel in control of your choices. Because I guarantee there is no one that wants a permanent drinking habit or feel like they can’t have control around alcohol.
And also, please don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t have control over what you put in your mouth or what you put in your body. That’s complete nonsense my friends. It’s outdated and it’s totally damaging to your mental health. You absolutely have control over drinking, over eating, over whatever goes into your mouth. No one puts a gun to our head and says, “You must drink or else.” Now, there may be alcohol bullies out there or people that try to convince us to have a drink but nobody can force us. That’s why you can develop complete control and power over this.
And once you change your thoughts about alcohol, guess what? You will change your desire for it and it will impact your life greatly. And what’s better than not wanting something that is toxic for our bodies? Some people go on to change their desire for alcohol to the point that they don’t even want it anymore. They feel that there’s no upside to having it in their life. And then some people choose to have a drink here and there like myself. Either way know that you can learn the skills to be in control over what goes into your mouth.
Now, if you don’t have those skills and you are an over-drinker, just know that it’s your thoughts causing the desire for it. It is simply just that. It is the think, feel, act cycle my friends, it is always in play in our life, always.
So, if you haven’t listened to last week’s podcast on perfectionism and how it holds us back, I suggest you go back and listen to that podcast first before diving into this one. Because I’m going to be expanding on what we talked about in last week’s podcast based on your comments, based on your questions and based on some of the feedback that I have received from that podcast. So go back, listen. I mention a couple of ways of how we look at perfectionism, how we define it. I give some examples that helps put it into proper perspective and context for this discussion.
And so, I want to start with a few more thoughts for you to consider. So, since perfectionism does not truly exist and it is just a fantasy in our minds, perfectionistic thinking is toxic. And it’s toxic because thinking that you can achieve something that you truly cannot, holds you back in so many ways. So, it’s like saying you can have something but you really can’t. It’s like saying that you can eat and drink whatever to your heart’s delight without gaining weight, or getting sick, or having chronic disease. Totally nonsense, totally not true.
So, I want to hit on this point in a different format for this podcast because I feel that once we know the truth it is truly liberating. And I am actively working this out with some of the ladies in mu programs because some of them are wanting to lose weight. We’ve put on weight during COVID-19, myself included. We’re wanting to be on this journey where we want to take off some of that weight. So, we’re discussing the facts in my programs about weight loss. And the myths because we have been lied to over the years about what causes weight loss.
We’ve been lied to about what are considered good and healthy foods, and good and healthy fats and what’s not. And we’ve been told things about exercise that may not be true. So, we are breaking down all of the truths about food, exercise and then how to lose the weight permanently because I know we’ve been taught a lot of crap over the years like the food pyramid. And all of this data that we now know that isn’t proven, and it isn’t real, and it isn’t effective for weight loss.
So completely wrong, like eggs are unhealthy. They are not unhealthy. They contain so many good components that the body needs. So, when we stop believing the lies, when we focus on knowing the truth, that’s when our lives can change. Because then we stop doing things that just don’t work and we’re wondering why we’re not getting weight loss. We’re wondering why we’re not getting a handle on our drinking if we’re just told to avoid it because the problem is alcohol. The problem my friends is not alcohol. The problem is your thoughts about alcohol.
So, when you begin to break down the truth, when you begin to get to the root cause of problems, oh my gosh, so liberating, so freeing because now you can do the real work. So, the truth is you cannot achieve perfectionism. As a recovering perfectionist I love knowing this truth because it changed me when I got into my mental loops that kept me thinking that I can have something go my way, a certain way, the perfect way. And if I didn’t get that then I would be unhappy.
And I’d be wondering why I’m so unhappy. It’s because I was creating my unhappiness and I couldn’t see it because I had that perfectionistic thinking. And I’ll tell you, when we lie to ourselves we create our own stuck-ness. Yes, when we lie to ourself, when we begin to believe our excuses and our lies, we get stuck. And we create that by believing the lies, by believing that it has to be perfect.
And I’ll see this when I’m working with the ladies and they tell me that they don’t drink that much. “And it could be so much worse. And the effects of alcohol, well, they’re not that bad. I mean I don’t go to work late, I’m always there but maybe I’m not as mentally clear. It really doesn’t impact my work that much.” And they keep going on and minimizing the problem. And the problem with that is that is not being truthful. That is telling little white lies and we do that because we don’t want to admit the truth to ourselves because we think that the truth will hurt.
So, I begin to dialog with them, and coach them, and start speaking their truth. And of course, it feels terrible, and of course it feels crappy, and of course they talk about then, “Yeah, you’re right. I am not applying a 100% of myself to work especially in the morning because it takes me a while to get out of that mental funk and that fogginess. And my energy is zapped and I do feel more depressed, and I do feel a lot more anxious.”
And what happens in these moments is the women start seeing, wow, this is a problem and I haven’t been truthful to myself. I have been believing my white lies about it. And why this is good is because it gets you off the sidelines of your life and just being like, “Yeah, it’s not that bad, not time to do anything about it.” And it gets you into the game of playing your life, of living your life, of doing your life the way you want to do it for you. And that’s when you get a hold and you want to break this nasty habit because it’s nasty my friends.
If you’re over-drinking there is no chronic upside to it, none. So, honesty, radical honesty is very powerful. It’s the skill we practice over and over again in all of my programs. Because without this skill you keep lying to yourself and guess what? That keeps you feeling awful.
Can you go back to a time in your childhood where you did something you knew you weren’t supposed to, whether you stayed out late and got home and it was past curfew, or you broke something, or you did something? And you didn’t really come clean about it when somebody asked you about it like a parent or some older person, they asked you if you did this or what time did you get home last night because your parents were sleeping. And you didn’t tell them the truth, you kind of lied about it. How did that make you feel inside? Kind of icky.
But the reason we lied back then is because we didn’t want to disappoint the authority figure. We didn’t want to disappoint the teacher or we didn’t want to disappoint our parents. So rather we told the untruth. Now as adults when we lie the only person we’re hurting is ourselves. The only person we’re disappointing is ourselves. There may be other people affected by our decision but the main person we’re disappointing is ourselves.
And then you carry around this icky feeling and then what feels good to get away from that icky feeling? Go and drink. Get the quick hit of the pleasure. Now, my last podcast, we talked about we want that perfect marriage and the perfect kids. And we want our jobs to look a perfect way. However way we define that. Or the perfect body. Or we want that lush shining hair and the perfect figure, whatever it is. But nothing can ever be perfect. Now, that’s not to say I’m a Debbie Downer on this one. And I want to show you why.
So just for a minute follow along with me and let’s consider what most humans think perfectionism is and what being perfect is. So, let’s consider a world where we lived like that. So, what I hear most women say is, “I just want everybody around me to be happy. I’m like the cruise director. I want my kids to be happy. I want my husband to be happy. I want to be happy. Let’s all just be happy. And that means we would all agree, and we’d all get along, and we’d have the similar perspectives on life. So, if we all agreed and we had the same opinions, and the same views on things, and the same perspectives, we would just all get along.
There’d be so much less conflict, so much less disagreement, nobody challenging our thoughts. Everybody would just act peacefully. Everyone would just be doing what was expected of them. Our kids would be angels They’d be getting good grades. They would be well behaved. They would brush their teeth, and comb their hair, and hand in their homework. Our spouses would say loving kind things to us all the time like, “Thank you for this meal honey, it’s delicious”, or whatever.
The drivers on the road we’d be kind to each other. There’d be no road rage. If you just put on your blinker, the person behind you would automatically just let you in. Or we went to the grocery store, we’d be all smiling and happy because we’re living the perfect life. There wouldn’t be traffic delays, because oh no, that would not mean it was perfect. We’d get to work on time. We’d get to leave work on time. We’d make it to every dinner. Say dinner was at 6.00pm, we’d all sit down as a family, have dinner. We’d all get done. We’d all participate in cleaning up.
Life would be perfect. And because it’s perfect there are no problems to solve, nothing needs to be solved, it’s perfect. There is no climate change problems, there is nothing, we all agree. We’re all at our goal weight with perfect hair, flawless skin. We’re amazing. We’re perfect.
And just think about living that life, what would we do? What would we talk about? Would we talk about having another perfect day in paradise? What would the conversation be over dinner? Would we look at one another and ask questions? Because we already know what they’re thinking. They think like us. And we already know what they’re going to say because they’re the perfect spouse and the perfect kids. So, they’re going to say the perfect thing that we want to hear. So why even ask the question if we know the answer?
I could turn to my daughter and say, “Honey, did you like your lunch today?” “Yes mom, it was perfect. Keep up the great work. Keep giving me that turkey sandwich, it was delicious.” Honestly, ladies, how does that sound? Does that sound like a life you want to live? Does that sound like there’s variety and ways to use our brain creatively, and ways to figure out things, and ways to problem solve, and ways to pivot and adjust, when nuances and circumstances come our way? I think living a completely perfect life sounds incredibly boring. Oh my gosh, yawn, yawn, yawn.
What would my brain think about all day? How would we advance technology, and life, and evolve as humans? Would we evolve as humans? Or would we just kind of hit the top and top out? And think about this, if we all have the same opinions and the same perspectives, we’re probably all dressing alike and eating the same things, if we all have similar opinions. How freaking boring. It was almost like we were robots, no variety, no challenges and kind or just living life kind of dull although it’s perfect.
You might get a sample of this, anybody go and take their perfect vacation? It could be maybe to the beach, or to the mountains, or to the lake or wherever you go. And the first couple of days you arrive on that vacation, it’s magical, it feels amazing. You love the view, you love the smells in the air. You’re excited to be back. But after you’ve been there a while, maybe it’s the end of the vacation. Do you notice that your brain doesn’t find it as amazing? I mean the smells are still there. The view is still the same.
But you kind of stop enjoying it so much because it’s just another perfect day at the beach. It’s just another perfect day at the lake. It’s just another perfect day in the mountains. And do you notice how your emotions and your brain begin to adjust to that? it doesn’t seem to have the same enthralling nature as it did when you first arrived. That’s because our brains adjust. They get used to seeing what is actually there. And then the brain also looks forward to change and newness.
So be careful when you say, “I want things to be perfect”, because I really don’t think we mean that when we say that. I think for a lot of us when we say we want things to be perfect it’s actually that we want things to be a certain way so we can be happy. Because I think that’s how the brain works. We think if it’s perfect then I will automatically get this feeling that comes along with perfection, and that’s happiness.
Now, notice we are talking about the think, feel, act cycle here. If things are perfect, if that’s how my mind is thinking about it, then it will create satisfaction, or then it will create the feeling of pleasure or happiness. That’s why we want perfection. We want perfection not for the sake of perfection. We want perfection for the sake of the feeling. So, I don’t even think we are pursuing perfection for the sake of perfection. I think we’re pursuing it for that sake of that feeling, which then changes the whole dynamic of the problem.
If we’re not really wanting perfection, we’re just really wanting the result of that, what that thinking creates is that feeling, then why don’t we just focus on what we truly want which is the feeling? We can let go of perfection. Here is also what I want to point out about perfection. Do we ever really arrive? So, for instance, I work with some clients and they say, “My life would be so perfect if I can lose 30 pounds.” Some women talk like this, “My life would be perfect if. My life would be perfect when.” Okay, so let’s go there, wish granted.
We get 30 pounds off the body. But then guess what happened to that client that I helped to lose 30 pounds? Actually, she went on to lose 40 and 50. Now what did she say? “Now, I have all this flabby skin, it’s just loose and it’s hanging off my body. I don’t like it. If I can just get rid of this flabby skin my life will be perfect.” Great, boom, let’s do some surgery, let’s tighten that up, let’s workout, whatever. We got the tight skin, now what? Now the mind will move on to something else. It’s like I’ve achieved that, what can I achieve next?
Well, now I want to flaunt this new body I have. So, I need all these new clothes. Boom, get new clothes. Well, I can’t walk around with these new clothes and this new body with an old car, so let me get a new car. And while we’re at and I got the new car and that newness wore off, and that dopamine hit wore off a couple of months later. Let me get a new house. We never arrive. The brain will always move on to something new. The brain craves newness. And why it craves the newness is because it thinks the new thing will create more happiness, will create the feeling.
So, it’s not that we really want the house, or we really want the car, it’s just nice. But we want how that new car or that new house will make us feel. So, notice that that’s why perfectionism can never happen because the brain will just move on. So, again, perfectionism can’t exist. It doesn’t exist. That is the truth that sets us free. The mind will always adjust to what is now the new normal. It’s the same thing when it comes to drinking.
There was a point in your life, if you are an over-drinker, that you didn’t drink this much. For some of us we have to go back to before 18, some of us, we go back to before the kids came or something of that nature. But there was a time when you weren’t an over-drinker. And here’s what a lot of people say, “I gradually fell into the habit.” That’s what I hear from so many women, “It just happened. I just gradually fell into this habit.” I want to tell you, you didn’t fall into the habit, you created it by your actions, you created it by your thoughts and your feelings that created the action of over-drinking.
You kept practicing drinking and you got better at it. And then it became a routine and it became a habit. And even if it’s just a binge routine, that’s still a habit, particularly if it keeps happening. And what happened, your brain adjusted to this new state of being. This habit became your new norm. And guess what? Just like a new car in your mind, and the new house, after a while it becomes old and it doesn’t fulfill you and neither does the drink.
And what happens, we start pursuing more, we start drinking earlier in the day. We start drinking more. And I talk to many women who can’t even imagine taking a few days off from alcohol. They can’t imagine giving it up. But yet they say it’s not satisfying like it used to be. Or I keep having to have more and then I blackout and I have all these negative consequences, so the overall picture is its a net negative for my life. And just like all these other things, that’s what the brain will do with alcohol, just once more.
Now if we get one house, some of us want a second house, and we get a beach house. And this is considered the perfectionistic treadmill. It’s a treadmill because it keeps going, and going, and going, and going. And we never have an off ramp. There is no end. Okay, so hopefully I have completely convinced you that perfectionism is a hoax in the mind, it doesn’t exist, we can’t get there. It’s a Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme in the brain. And I call it that because it is dangerous.
It is dangerous to have that thinking for the results that it creates today. And that means people are putting off their happiness, what they truly want, out of perfectionism is not the perfect part, it’s the feelings part. And so, they delay their happiness to another time, a future time when they think they can have that perfect thing, or when they will be that perfect size, or whatever it is that they’re wishing for, or that perfect drink plan. So, they’ll be happy over there, meanwhile they’re causing their own suffering over here.
And I see that people do this all the time, whether it’s with a car, whether it’s finding a spouse or a mate, whether it’s their drinking habit that’s perfectly controlled, or when COVID is finally over. It’s all the things, anything outside of us, once we can control that then we’ll be happy. But I want to tell you my friends, we can’t control outside things. We can only control what we do.
And we do this with our kids. If they would only do this then I can feel a certain way. If they would just get good grades then I can feel good about myself as a parent. And that’s the life I want to live. Now, I’m not saying not to help them do better in school. But I’m also saying, hey, let’s not miss out on the happiness that you could be experiencing now. Because if you’re missing that experience of happiness now, you’re missing the vital truth of how life works and that it’s not about perfectionism, it’s actually about messiness. Because if you think about life, it’s pretty messy.
There are things that come along outside of our control that we now have to think about how we’re going to manage, like COVID. We have to be able to be flexible, and adaptable, and change, and pivot when circumstances come our way. But that doesn’t mean we have to delay happiness. And here’s the thing, we don’t know what’s around the corner, we don’t know what’s happening in the future. What if the kids never get straight A’s? What if charting at work, if you’re a doctor or anybody has to do a lot of administrative tasks, what if the charting doesn’t go down?
We all want our administrative tasks to lessen so we could be happier. That’s outsourcing our happiness to charting, or administrative tasks, or to our kids and their grades. And to me that’s not embracing the honest truth of what’s actually hurting you, that perfectionistic thinking. And it robs you of the joy today, of the feelings you can create for yourself today, and we don’t know how many tomorrows we will get or what will come our way in the future tomorrows.
So, hearing all this I hope you have made a strong case that perfectionistic thinking is not helpful and it’s not a useful way to think. First, it’s not a place that we can actually achieve, it’s not real. It’s not in line with how our psychological programming works in the brain because the brain becomes accustomed to what it experiences and then it will want more. It’s the treadmill.
Second, if it was real, it sounds incredibly boring, mentally dulling. I’d rather be mentally challenged, mentally stimulated and growing and experiencing life through self-growth, through the process of self-development, learning more, contributing more, giving more, being more. And that is life because we never truly arrive.
Third, perfectionistic thinking, it delays our level of happiness or our level of contentment with ourselves and with our life in the moment, the right now, the only moment that we can control.
And the fourth place that I think is really dangerous is that if you think it needs to be perfect that will inhibit your progress, because if you have to think you have to do something a certain way or it should look a certain way, or you have to achieve a certain thing, it slows down your progress and you don’t get the changes fast. Because when you focus on the progress you are making that fuels you forward. As I talked about in future episodes, it’s that taking the action is what creates the motivation, not the other way around.
So, whenever you take action and you’re getting progress in motivates you to keep going. But most people might not even try. They might not even get up and get started because they think things have to be perfect, the right time. They have to be motivated, whatever other factors that they think need to be there in order to achieve success. And let me tell you, success comes on a pile of failures.
And this is where I help many women in Drink Less Lifestyle because when they fall down, and they will, and I tell them they will because that is the nature of change. You don’t just change overnight for most people. So, they have a slipup after days of doing amazing work, the right work where they focus on changing their desire for alcohol and not just avoiding it. And they’re rewiring their brain. They’re doing the exercises that require rewiring the brain.
So, they’re doing it all right except they have one bad night. They have a slipup, maybe they drank over their plan by one drink, maybe it was two. And guess what? They get discouraged. We talk about it on our calls. they tell me exactly what happened. And I say, “Yeah, you had a slipup, just like we anticipated, just like I told you was going to happen, just like I shared with you in my own journey, that that has happened again and again.” So that’s when they transition to the skill of how do I manage a slipup? It’s something that we practice a lot inside Drink Less Lifestyle.
You’ve got to manage the skill of handling a slipup because if not, what does that slipup turn into? Days, weeks of just staying there, creating your own stuck-ness because you think it should go perfectly rather than about progress, rather than uncovering why did that happen on that day? What was different that I still need to work on? And if you don’t do that part then you can’t get further progress because you’re not willing to look at what’s causing the drinking. What was going on that day that I didn’t have happen the other days?
And if we don’t uncover it, guess what? It’ll keep happening, and it’ll keep happening. And it’ll stunt getting more progress. So, a slipup doesn’t mean anything unless you make it mean that I had to do it perfectly. That’s what’s going on in the brain of somebody whose like, “I had a slipup, I guess I’m not going to do this work anymore. I guess this is not working for me. This is my lot in life.” And that’s simply not true. It’s thinking that it has to go a certain way and it has to look a certain way, and it has to be perfect. And it needs to be a linear progression.
Think about your marriage if you’re married, is that a linear progression, it just keeps getting better and better with each day? No, it’s a rollercoaster, there are some good days, there are some bad days. The same thing with parenting, there’s phases of a kid’s life that you’re like, “Oh my gosh, what is going on? What are we doing? What’s happening?” And there are phases like you’ve got this, I’ve got this. This is easy. This is going well. So, when you slipup, that is part of the journey, to think that it’s not means you have perfectionistic thinking.
And one of my clients kept experiencing this. She would slipup every Saturday night. And she was so frustrated. And it baffled her on why this kept happening every Saturday night. And we talked about it. She got coached on it. And we looked at exactly what was causing the drinking on those Saturday nights. She did the work on it. She wanted to understand it at the root cause level. Most people don’t, they just blame the drinking, it was the alcohol. But remember my friends, it’s never the alcohol.
She knew she didn’t have much desire for alcohol during the week and that had become easy. And that was actually her new habit which was amazing. But there was something about Saturday that was different. And so, when we uncovered that, when she uncovered that, we worked on it. We understood why it was happening. She got to the root cause of that desire. Because it’s always our thoughts that create the desire, our desire for alcohol just doesn’t magically appear.
Now, it may feel like it magically appears after you’ve been over-drinking for a long time. But at first it was created by your thoughts. And then once the habit has formed, do you know what the brain does? It puts it down into the subconscious level. So now you’re not even in touch with your thoughts because they’re now subconscious, which is why we have to uncover them again, which is why this work is so transformational, because it gets to the exact thing that caused the desire and the love of alcohol in the first place.
And when you do that, it’s like magic. You break down those psychological barriers like I talked about in last week’s episode. You get traction, you make progress, and boom, you become transformed. Your life feels amazing because you’re like, “Wow, it really wasn’t about the alcohol. It was about what was going on inside my head and I just couldn’t get traction on it.” So, when you work with a coach like me, that’s what we do, that is the work we do. Because humans aren’t perfect, we weren’t designed to be perfect,
Actually, I remember a landmark study that came out when I was still practicing as a pharmacist. It was back into 2000 and this landmark paper was published in pharmacy and it got traction in medicine. And it was called To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System. So, in healthcare we are humans, we’re prone to error.
So, talking about to err is human, took away some of that painful guilt that people would carry if they made a mistake on the job. And that’s what led to the advent of double checking, triple checking, barcoding things, infrared, all of these safe systems, smart pumps, so that we can minimize error. We can do everything in our power with technology that is infallible most of the time and reduce the amount of human error because to err is human.
People make mistakes but that doesn’t mean that they’re bad people. And that’s what a lot of people were being judged for, putting the error on the person rather than the error on the system. And I see so many women do this to themselves, and I’m sure men too, where if they aren’t following their alcohol free protocol.
I see all these people counting days of being alcohol free. and somehow if you’re not alcohol free on a day that means you’re a bad person and they take it with so much guilt and shame. No, it just means you made a different choice on that day. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. And maybe your goal isn’t to go alcohol free for life. So, let’s consider what the goal is. And most people don’t even know what their goal is. And that’s when you’re living life on default, which doesn’t feel good.
So, beating yourself up over it, and wondering how did this happen again, that doesn’t help you make progress. And for some people they stay in that spiral for days and weeks. And then they give up because they say, “It’s just too hard.” But what if we allowed room for imperfection? What if we allowed room for just looking at the progress that we’ve made? Let’s look at the 10 and 20, whatever days you wanted to count for alcohol free days as progress?
And to me I think the critical piece is understanding why you didn’t have progress on the one day you wanted to, that’s it, uncover that. Solve for that and then you find you don’t do it again in the future. Or if you do it’s much less frequent. This is exactly why I talk about this over, and over, and over, inside Drink Less Lifestyle, because we aren’t going not do it perfectly. And here’s the thing, this frees you when you learn the skill in this area to take it to other areas.
Maye you’ve done something you weren’t proud of with your diet that day, or something parenting that day. These skills are transformative and they are transferable to other areas of your life. That’s what life coaching is, improving your life. This is not therapy that you’re in for years, and years, and years. This is coaching, where you’re coaching yourself and using these tools in your life. We’re applying them to drinking but they could be applied anywhere in your life. And this is a skill you need to develop if you want to stop having so many slipups.
It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, doesn’t mean you’re flawed, it means you’re human and you just need additional tools. You need additional skills that’s it. Doesn’t mean you have a character flaw. It’s just the way you were designed. You were designed as a human, learn from it, recover, get back up. Learn the skills so it happens less and less in the future. It just takes retraining your brain for less desire for alcohol. And it’s been done by thousands of people.
And here is the thing my friends, some people say, “It’s too hard.” It’s not that hard. You know what’s hard? Training for the Olympics. You know what’s hard? Training to become a doctor. You know what’s hard? Anything that requires years, and years, and years of training. If it’s taking you years, and years, and years to overcome a drinking habit, something tells me you don’t have the right skills, you’re not practicing the right tools. And maybe your brain’s thinking it’s just about the alcohol, when that is not true. It won’t get you the success you want.
So that’s one thing I am always looking at when I’m coaching my clients, this I can’t do it perfectly so why even begin? I can’t do this perfectly so why even try? Or I’ll hear, “I can’t follow a drink plan perfectly so why do it at all?” It’s like saying, “I can’t exercise every day of the week so why even do it three days a week?” Because there’s benefit to doing it three days a week. And when you do it three days a week it becomes easier to do it a fourth day. And it becomes easier to do it a fifth day if that’s your desire.
So, I would never subscribe to thinking that disempowers me. And I do not want that for any of my clients. And I show them where their thinking is disempowering them because the truth sets you free, perfectionism traps you and keeps you stuck. You don’t have to do it perfectly. It’s about learning the skills to rewire your brain and this takes some time. Does it take years, and years, and years? No. But here’s the thing, there will be setbacks along the way, they are expected. Look at the Olympians, they fall down even after training years, and years, and years.
So, I didn’t follow my drink plan perfectly for a while, but I still put one together. I still worked on my thinking that caused my drinking, because it was working. I saw it and at times I see how beautifully it worked in my life and my mentor told me, “It’s going to work, but there are going to be sometimes it’s not going to work, not at first.”
But I saw the results and I kept going, practicing, willing to learn and do it even if I didn’t nail it at a 100% because I did want that A++. I did want that gold star. I did want to nail it a 100% completely because then I’d make it mean I’m a good student. I can do this perfectly. But the truth is I got it right 70-80% of the time. The truth is I started off as a C to a B student, 70-80%, great. It meant I was learning the skill of controlling my drinking. It meant that my drinking reduced by 70-80%. It meant significant reduction in my drinking.
And what would I consider a failure? Sometimes I just went over by one drink, is that really a failure? See, your body and your brain get the benefit when you reduce drinking by any amount, any. You don’t need to be an A+ student in this category. There is no dean’s list, there’s no scholarships. There’s learning, my friends, learning. And you don’t need to be an A+ student to have the learning. And that’s what my brain would tell me, if you’re not doing it at A++ or an A+, you must not be learning. That is complete BS my friends.
I was doing B work, I was doing it 80% of the time. That was amazing. That was more progress than I had gotten in the last decade of my life as a drinker before that. I drank a lot less. I was working on the real thing, my desire, my thoughts about alcohol and I kept going because when I got progress that fueled me into motivation to take more action. This is the fundamental work we do inside my programs. You’ve got to work on these skills. They are skills they can be learned.
The brain can learn new things and it is critical to your success. And think about the things we do practice in life, does it have to look a certain way? Can there be two ways of doing something that leads to the same result? Can you have two different heart surgeons do the same heart surgery but have different technique? As long as the result is the heart pumps and has no clogged arteries and resistance to pump against and impede blood flow. I think they’ve reached the right result despite taking two different techniques to get there.
What about lawyers arguing a case, two different lawyers, same case, may take two different approaches. But if the goal is to set your client free and they get it, does it matter how it looks on the way? If your goal is weight loss and you want 10 pounds off, there are 16 different approaches to get that. You have to find the one that works for you. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect. That doesn’t mean you don’t fail along the way and learn what doesn’t work.
This is the thing about perfectionism, sometimes it makes us look at the journey more than the destination. We focus on how the journey is going that we lose sight of the destination, we lose sight of the goal, we lose sight of the progress that we’ve already made. And we start thinking that there are rules about society that aren’t true, that things are supposed to be linear, and that life is not supposed to throw us curveballs, and other things aren’t supposed to happen.
As I say in my programs all the time, “Whenever you argue with reality, you’ll lose 100% of the time.” But also, don’t create a reality that’s fiction based. And that’s what a lot of us do with our minds by this perfectionistic thinking.
So, my friends, I hope you have enjoyed part two of this perfectionistic thinking and how it holds you back. I have really seen it hinder people from making progress, progress that would make their lives light up, progress that would improve their health significantly, progress that would improve their happiness significantly.
And now I have a very exciting announcement for you all. I have been working on a few projects with my team and I am so excited to tell you about one of them. We are officially launching Epic You to my community and I invite you to check it out. Epic You is my monthly membership program where you can get help on all things from this podcast. It’s where you’ll learn to create the best and most epic version of you. Join a community of like-minded women who want to take their life to the next level. Come check out Epic You on my website, at sherryprice.com. Again, that’s sherryprice.com. I can’t wait to see you there.
Thanks for listening to the Drink Less Lifestyle. If you’re ready to change your relationship with alcohol, check out my free guide, How to Effectively Break the Overdrinking Habit at sherryprice.com/startnow. That’s sherryprice.com/startnow. I’ll see you next week.
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