May 2013: Want More Time? Change Some Habits

I’ve been trying to do this for some time—quit coffee and sugar. I mean quite some time–like about fifteen years. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I seriously stepped back and observed myself and realized that I was addicted to both. “Me, an addict?” I thought. I was startled and my heart sank trying to figure out how I was going to stop a habit that is so much of today’s social fabric. But when I made the decision to get off caffeine and sugar everything shifted. Soon people started coming into my life unknowingly providing the exact services that I needed; I was surrounded with healthy lifestyle opportunities. You’ve heard the adage, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”? The floodgates opened.

It began when I was doing some spring cleaning and re-organizing my work space. I came across the business card of a hypnotherapist I met at a networking event the previous December. At the time, I knew I wanted to work with her but didn’t know how or in what capacity. Three months later I was staring at her card and knowing she was the one to help me with my sugar and caffeine cessation. We scheduled a session (she is a very powerful hypnotherapist), I went into deep hypnosis and afterward she gave me some affirmations on a card to repeat several times per day. 

Since then, I haven’t had a taste for coffee or sugar at all. In fact, they both repulse me. The skeptic in me didn’t believe this was true, so the next day I test-tried a cup of java and almost threw up. I gave my gourmet coffee beans to my son and donated my French coffee press. The feeling was the same with sugar–I was repulsed by the taste and smell of anything sweet, but what I didn’t realize is how much sugar is in everything. Now I stop and carefully read labels because the least bit of sugar gives me a headache.

By removing these two unhealthy habits in my life I noticed the following immediately:

By not drinking coffee and sweets I now save about $200 per month.

I save time because I no longer think about coffee and sugar, which neighborhood coffee shop I’m going to walk to, or what time of day I’m going to be there. I can’t believe how much mental energy these unhealthy habits have consumed me.

The other revelation was how empty I felt after drinking coffee. I was left with this buzz and no where to place it. Imagine being a musician and holding the instrument in your hand but not being able to play it, or a basketball player with a ball in his hands but not able to shoot or run down the court and dribble. I realized I had settled for this numb, empty feeling that had been subtly building up for years.

Now that I don’t “coffee-up” I feel more clarity and have less of a “procrastination factor”. My work habits are more productive and self-directed. I focus on priorities and the processes are fun and illuminating again.

The second person that came into my life was my neighbor who asked me to join a boot camp. The group needed five people to get the discount and I was the fifth! I started this week.

Lastly, I’d been looking for a way to combine meditation, yoga and hiking–three of my favorite activities. Lo and behold, I was invited to join a women’s hiking group that includes a silent walking meditation coupled with gentle yoga stretching mid-hike in a beautiful Redwood grove. The location is twenty minutes from my home. Now how perfect is that?

Many times when I’m organizing and coaching my clients I share with them, “letting go of old, non-productive, unhealthy habits will give you the gift of time. The question to ask yourself is, ‘What will I do with my extra time?’”.
Exercise: close your eyes and relax. Pretend your life is perfect right now. What are you doing? How are you spending your time? Imagine doing all the things you’ve been wanting to do and letting go of activities that are not in alignment with your authentic self. Trust your intuition. Now: give yourself permission to take action! Right now. Don’t waste a minute more.

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