What are you doing excessively in your life that you know is bad for you? Is it alcohol? Overeating? Smoking cigarettes? We all have a dark side and it shows up through our vices. What vice is your little voice talking to you about right now? That is the vice you should consider taking down today. I'm going to show you how to get out of "purgatory," where your vice keeps you. Here are six basic steps for releasing your vice's grip on you!
1) Own Your Vice
The first step to quitting a vice is to own it, say it, admit it. Now, owning a vice is an art. Most people can't naturally rattle off their issues to another person with a sense of pride. Usually you don't hear people cut directly to the truth and say, "This is what sucks about me and I want to do something about it." Instead, people keep their vices hidden. Why? Why do you hide your dark side?
Your dark side has an agenda: it doesn't want to give up your vice. You have figured out a way to accommodate the vice and live with it, even though you know it's bad for you and you wouldn't prescribe it to anyone else. If you wouldn't teach it to your children, why do you want to do it?
2) Choose A Life without Your Vice
If you really want to take down a vice, you must want a life without it. It's important to understand that there is a "purgatory" that happens when you keep a vice around. When I say purgatory, I am referring to the suffering that occurs in the areas where you are spiritually and physically stuck. If you keep the cigarette hanging out of your mouth, there are things that you won't let happen in your life. The vice is robbing you of aspects of life that you don't even realize.
3) Describe The Impact of Your Vice
Once you have chosen a life without your vice, it's important to bring a new perspective to it. Quit defending the vice. Instead, capture how it has been impacting your life. Describe your purgatory. The more lighthearted you can be about it, the quicker the vice will release its grip. Yours might sound something like these:
* I pick potato chips over love.
* I pick TV over intimacy.
* I choose the Internet over friendship.
Be brutally honest and funny. This will take away the guilt, drama and shame surrounding your vice. When you tell the truth about your purgatory, it diminishes the "vice grip." It also reveals what you may be avoiding in your life.
4) Make Promises to Do Something about It
When tackling a vice, there are two options. Choose it or lose it. If you choose to keep the vice, then you give up the right to bitch about it to anyone. No more drama. No whining or complaining about it. Instead of saying "Oh I've tried to quit smoking so many times, it's so hard" you have to be able to say "Okay, I am not quitting and I am giving myself cancer." But remember you are stuck in your own spiritual purgatory until you take down the vice.
My recommendation is to lose the vice. Make a promise to stop doing it. Mean it, write out the promise and read it every day. Create your life without that vice.
5) Create Consequences to Keep Your Promises
The best way to keep a promise is to put in a consequence whenever you break that promise. For example, if you smoke a cigarette, you pay $10 to a friend or do an extra workout the next morning. If you cheat on your diet, you lose your wine on Friday night. Choose a consequence that works for you. The right consequence will keep you from breaking your promise.
6) Tell Your Friends
It's important to tell everyone you know about your vice. This will help you establish a support system. It will also make you accountable to others about no longer engaging in your vice. Going public in your circle of friends makes it real, because you can't hide from it anymore. Tell everyone you've quit smoking. Go on a diet and tell them about it. Confess about your Internet use. Telling everyone your promised actions AND your consequences helps cement your plan and keep you on it.
People believe their personalities are fixed and change is impossible. They say things to themselves like, "I'm just not disciplined enough," or "I could never do that." It's not true! So, can you stop overeating? Can you control your drinking? Can you put the cigarette down? The real answer is "of course you can." The question is just will you? Your dark side, which enables the vice, will answer the same way every time. "No, you can't do it. It's too hard. You're screwed." The dark side is convincing you to keep the vice and stay small in your life, instead of tackling solutions to the real problems. Your vice is a big diversion from what you're really here to do: live a fulfilled and happy life.
Sure, your vice will get you certain things that might feel kind of good. You get to avoid feeling fear, avoid the challenge, avoid rejection and feeling your heart. For it, you sacrifice feeling pride and your own spiritual evolution. In short, keeping your vice around will never make you deeply happy. You will always feel like you're in some type of purgatory; we'd like to help you out.
P.S.- Leaving purgatory is simpler than you think and we will help you! Come to one of our Design Your Life Weekend workshops. Get coaching and a winning game plan to tackle your vices to the ground.