“I really like the person I’m becoming!”

That was the surprised comment by a client during a follow-up session last week. She’d been to see us for her 5 days of intensive work, followed our suggestions, kept her phone appointments and realized that she really did like the person who was emerging from the fog.

It’s what happens whenever we begin to rebound from whatever medicated states we’ve been inhabiting – whether with alcohol, drugs, tobacco, food, or??? – and start living again.

Last week I talked about paying attention. This week I’m suggesting that staying engaged is a result of both paying attention and being present in our lives.

Passive spectator or active participant?

Most of us, like those attending sports events, are spending our lives watching others participate while we get whatever meager vicarious thrills are to be had by being spectators. It’s a poor substitute for actually doing stuff ourselves.

Becoming more active, more aware, more responsible for our actions and choices, more assertive in our relationships, more selective in how we use our time, and, guess what?

You too will find that you really like the person who’s emerging from the alcohol cocoon you’ve been inhabiting.

Does it require effort and patience and some good will and good humor (mostly towards yourself)? Yes!

Is it worth it? It depends on whether or not you think you and your life are worth it.

Why not stop demeaning, degrading, and sabotaging yourself and your life?

It is your choice you know, and you only get one life, so?????

Goals vs. Systems

Setting some goals is a common January activity and a useful beginning. The trouble is we don’t ever get around to creating the systems necessary to achieve those goals.

Of course goals are also plagued by fuzziness: I will lose weight, save for retirement, stop abusing alcohol, spend more time with my spouse or friends or family, get more exercise.

Goals are also off there in the future, somewhere over the rainbow, and have – thankfully – nothing to do with today or tomorrow or actually changing anything.

That’s how we dodge the bullet of actual change.

But a goal is still a good, and an nonthreatening, place to start drilling down to real change.

Pick a goal and then quantify it. Make it measurable in terms of the expected time frame and the result to be obtained. “Lose weight” is not actionable – lose 15 pounds between now and my son’s wedding in June is.

Hmmm. 15 pounds in 5 months translates into 3 pounds a month or, to be on the safe side, a pound a week. Given that, I can develop a system of diet changes and exercise upgrades to see if I’m achieving the results I want. I also get the necessary feedback to adjust as the weeks go by.

That’s a very simplified example, of course, but creating specifics is what makes real changes possible. It’s why the only thing we nag clients about is scheduling specifics that will help them to achieve the goal of ending their alcohol abuse.

Less drinking is a goal, but it’s a lot easier to manage when you instead focus on more travel, more sex, more golf, more of whatever rewards motivate you.

Need a bit of helping creating the systems that are right for you? Give us 5 days – together we’ll build the system, then we’ll spend another several months establishing, tweaking, hand holding, and motivating.

Your Life. Your goals, your systems, your choices, your results.