Insights from the black sea (V.2)
38 days ago I took the largest plunge outside of my comfort zone possible. I made the deliberate choice to start the mental toughness program 75hard.
If you don't know know what this program is, please go do some research. In summary you have 6 specific rules that you can't change to fit your lifestyle.
Choose a specific diet. (caveat is no cheat meals the entire 75 days)
Workout 2x a day for at least 45mins (one has to be outside)
Drink a gallon of PURE water a day (sparkling water doesn't count towards you goal)
Read 10 pages of a non fiction self help/entrepreneur book everyday
No alcohol, artificial sugars, junk food, soda/juices
Take a progress pic everyday
If you miss anyone of these items on any given day you have to start over at day 1! This the big gotcha! You also have till you go to sleep to complete, so if you have to push bedtime to 1/2am to get it all in, do it.
There are several methodologies that come into to play here. Development of positive habits, consistency to drive longevity, and motivation to help establish a growth/grit mindset.
I specifically chose this program for the alcohol component. The other 5 items weren't too much of a concern, but I had to see for myself what my can't vs. won't threshold was. I also created a lot of haters in my mind that stood on the side line saying "I would never be able to complete such a daunting challenge." Of course no one has ever uttered those words. Nonetheless, I use it as a driver.
If anyone knows me, they know I love a good beverage(s) on any given day. What better way to really get after them on a daily basis than the start of a pandemic! You have an environment of where you are quarantined on your property and your workforce has gone completely virtual. This is a perfect recipe to start with breakfast drinks, move to lunch beers, and wind down with night caps.
At first this is exciting, because you believe the pandemic will end soon. You were just planning to have a nice staycation as the living situation provides a comfortable setting. Then you realize that it's only getting worse, and seems to be no end in sight. You have an infinite timeline of homelife with no escape. For a SUPER extravert like myself this was mental fuckery.
I love being social. It gives me a sense of wholeness to laugh with friends, and laugh I do.... ALL.THE.TIME. (hahahaha) So to be blindsided by a catastrophic event that has completely taken a piece of me with it, created something I didn't really know how to identify.....depression.
It didn't seem to be out of the norm for anyone during this current state of the world, but everyone was coping with it a bit differently. For me, drinking, working, and listening to music were my levers each day. I'm very much a creature of habit. As spontaneous as I like to live, there has to be a since of routine in there or I get uncomfortable. So day in and day out I would grab my laptop, bloodymary, and bluetooth speaker and start my mental escape.
I take pride in my work so I knew there wouldn't be any impact there, but what I didn't see as a regular item on that list was family engagement. My thought process was "they will be with me everyday forever, so I can take some alone time to make it through this." As you can imagine with a routine like that, emotional distance becomes more common and insecurities grow larger. Now everyone is unhappy.
We could all see the scale tipping, but when you are in a state of negligence the excuses become plentiful and the trust dwindles. The escape that you once thought was needed is impacting lives that deserve better, including your own.
This brings me to the decision that could only be made by me. One thing that I will continue to drive with my messages is people have to make choices to change for themselves. Ultimatums are a short term band aid destined to fail. Of course this is my opinion, so take from it what you will. I knew that I was ready to see a change in my health, family, finances, friendships, and set real stretch goals for my life.
If Dion is all in, watch out world. Which is what you are experiencing now. Of course I have doubts daily, but I use that for positive energy.
Like I tell my son, practice self talk. You will never hear me say I can't do something. I won't do something, BUT I can do anything!
I'm excited for this next chapter of my life and the journey I'm on. My desire for alcohol has changed for a desire to invest in my family/self/life. Not to say that I will never drink again, but my approach will be drastically different.
If you take anything away from this, just make a choice and stick to it. You can still finish a meal with small bites, and it will be more satisfying.