Low hanging fruit

Willpower is a limited resource; don’t overwhelm it.

This is one thing I have learned in my 292 non-drinking days.  In other words, when you’re trying to give up alcohol, let yourself indulge in other ways.  As I talked about here, I gave up sugar and white flour for awhile last year.  I did feel good when I did that, but it got to be too much.  Too much self-denial.

But, I feel ready to make some other changes in my life.  So this week I have made a (late) New Year’s resolution.  It’s to do all the healthy things for my body that I enjoy.  I love taking walks, so I am going to do more of that.  Going to the gym helps me clear my head, so I am going to go when I can, but only for that reason.  Not to lose ten pounds.

I am going to drink more water.  Who doesn’t like a nice, cold glass of ice water?  I’m going to eat more sardines (for the Omega-3s!) because I’m one of those strange people that really likes sardines.  I’m going to eat all the fruits and vegetables that I like.

At the same time, I am going to continue to eat dessert when I want it, eat my apples with gobs of peanut butter (this is a major weakness), drink diet soda and lots of coffee, take the elevator instead of the stairs, and veg out on the couch playing Angry Birds when I want to.  And I won’t kick myself for it either.

Above all, I want to be kind to myself.  Kind to my body, kind to my brain and my emotions, kind to my overstretched willpower.  They’ve all served me well these last 292 days.

My mantra for this is the title of this post:  low hanging fruit.


14 thoughts on “Low hanging fruit

  1. Oh my god I am so with you on this, and I really needed to hear it! Thank you thank you! As soon as I get one thing starting to go right I take out the long list of self-improvement (AKA self-denial) projects and remove something else. It never goes well. It can’t. I think you’re bang on about doing things you love, and about being kind to yourself. Thanks for great advice. And a huge whopping hooray for your 292 days! (Holy that’s a lot of days!)

    • The overly ambitious “self-improvement” lists are exactly what I have always done, my whole life! And you’re right, it has never gone well. I think I’m finally starting to learn that being kind to myself is the first step for anything! So glad this post helped you — and take care of yourself!

  2. Very wise! I love the idea of focusing on the health-promoting things you enjoy and giving yourself permission to indulge when the time is right. (And 292 days is amazing — whatever you’ve been doing works!)
    P.S. Great blog.

    • Thank you, Hilda! I really feel good about this. Reading over what I wrote it seems obvious in one way, but it’s something I’ve never, ever tried, or even thought of, in any of my “get healthy” kicks. There was always some element of self-loathing involved.

      I’ve been taking long walks with my dog this week and it’s amazing what it does for my mental health!

  3. I need to do this too. I have noticed when I relapse it is when I overextend myself. I am like a child needing a nap…but I have all these people to take care of….I didn’t run yesterday and I have thought mentally how lazy I am…I am in the same clothes…..but you know what it’s ok….My husband is a workaholic and an alcoholic….but not like me…so I feel the need to try and keep as busy as he is but I can’t, I have to take time to reset or I will imploded. Ha!! I am a fitness instructor and I need to balance myself and not try to be perfect in all areas of my life….just in the area of sobriety is where the perfection is needed….Don’t take that first drink….My name is Kelly.

    • Hi Kelly — I still get caught up in that “have to be perfect” mindset. But you are right on, there is no need to be perfect in all areas of life when you are trying to quit drinking. In fact I think you have to give yourself permission NOT to be perfect, and that’s okay. Something that has stuck with me is that “self-compassion” is a much better mental health tool than “self-esteem.” That includes having compassion for myself when I want a drink, and not beating myself up for that either! Good luck to you!

  4. Thank you so much for writing this post. I am trying to get sober, today is Day 1. I need to be reminded that I am never going to get through this if I continue to be so hard on myself.

    • Hi Holly — congrats on Day 1! Having compassion for yourself and giving yourself permission to indulge in other ways is so important, I think. Keep me posted on how it’s going!

  5. Pingback: Low hanging fruit update | Stick a fork in me ... I'm done

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