The best view comes after the hardest climb.
This Wednesday will be 182 days with no alcohol, which marks the halfway point in my yearlong goal. 6 whole months!
I am really proud of my accomplishment but I also feel a dip in motivation.
It reminds me of the time I did my first hike on Telegraph Pass trail in South Mountain. I remember standing at the bottom of the trail just before it starts to get steep and thinking how scary it looked and how far away the top seemed. I anticipated sore legs, my lungs beating out of my chest, and exhaustion. I convinced myself it would not be easy to get to the top. Halfway through that hike I was very tired and started to lose motivation. It would be easier to just turn around and go back down but I knew deep down I was strong enough to make it so I kept pushing along. I remember reaching the top and that feeling of accomplishment. The view was spectacular and I even had this euphoric feeling like I was way more physically fit than I actually was. Looking down the trail, it definitely did not look as scary as it did looking up at it. I am glad I pushed past the halfway point and found the fuel to finish.
Motivation is U shaped with the lowest point about halfway through the process
At the beginning of my yearlong goal I felt great motivation and I was full of enthusiasm. It was easy at the beginning because I was inspired and my progress was easy to see. People were encouraging and shared how it was helping them. I know at the end there will be a surge of excitement when I am closing in on the year long goal. I know I will feel a sense of hustle and feel pumped to reach the finish line. But right now… I am just as far from the end as I was from the beginning. It would be just as easy to turn around and go back as it would be to go on and finish. It is pretty common to hit a motivation drop when you are halfway to reaching your goal.
Looking back at my blog posts from my first 3 months they were mostly positive, encouraging and all about motivation to meet my goal. The months went super fast and the pace seemed easy and light. My posts from months 3-6 have a slightly different vibe and the titles speak for themselves: I’m Breaking, Tough One Tonight, Take the Edge Off, FOMO, Can We Hit The Pause Button, Sultana’s Guilt. Time seems to have slowed down a bit and the finish line looks farther away than it really is. Part of the slump is due to the fact that maybe I thought that not drinking would be a magic cure for weight gain, pimples and headaches. However, I know better. I know that I still have to work at those things like getting my ass to the gym, maintaining a skin care regime and actually drinking a responsible amount of water. Since motivation is U shaped, that must mean the vibe of my posts in the next 3 months will start trending more positive again!
Look backward at what you have achieved; toward the end, look forward.
I need to remind myself where I started.
Looking back 6 months ago… motivation is what caused me to act, and when I acted, I created movement, growth and change. My goal feels significant and it is giving my life purpose and happiness. Part of my success so far has been reassessing my goal often and staying accountable to myself. My goal is measurable which helps because I can count my progress in minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months. When I started this goal I had many fears and questions such as; life would never be fun any more, how will I blow off steam, how will I celebrate anything, life will get boring, how will I maintain a social life? Reflecting now, I can see that I haven’t missed anything!
In fact I made it through:
Traveling to Newport Beach, Indiana, and two trips to Minnesota.
Two week long trips to the cabin and a weekend girl’s only camping trip to Payson.
Three big parties including a family party, wing fest, and a coworkers birthday party.
Three major holidays- Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and 4th of July.
Three awesome local staycations with Rick to the Boulders, Biltmore, and Royal palms.
Because going out takes time, drinking takes time, and recovering takes time shifting my focus has allowed me to enjoy some non-booze related activities. I have attended a cooking class, read more books than I have in a very long time, started volunteering at Lost Our Home Pet Rescue, attended a free concert at Chandler Center for the Arts, spent girls night out at movies and craft places like Board and Brush, and taught my girls to play new card and board games. Clearly I have not had a problem celebrating, socializing, traveling, and avoiding boredom.
At the six month mark I am enjoying no hangovers, a clear mind, better focus, more productivity, better sleep, better health as I haven’t been sick once, better sex, more emotional control and I rely less on the need for instant gratification. I now have a more realistic understanding of the goal that I am working toward, what it takes and what it will take to get where I want to be.
My successes are the reminders I need in order to look forward
In the next 3 months I need to visualize myself at the end of my goal. As a matter of fact, Garth Brooks might be playing a concert in Phoenix on April 27, which is 2 days after the end of my year. Could I possibly indulge in my first beer while singing Friends in Low Places with thousands of my closest friends? I may need to implement a stress-reliever that is a natural goal booster. I need something that is aimed at improving my mental and emotional health. Maybe I will play my drums more, continue to read new books, meditate, or maybe even exercise-GASP! I will continue blogging, I will reread my blogs, I will revisit my original goal, and I will keep marking my X’s on the habit tracker. I need to switch my thinking from how far I’ve come to how close I am.