At HSM, we are in the business of behaviour change and improving quality of life. One of the early questions that we encountered when starting to think about how to change our relationship with alcohol, was, what actually motivates people to change? People that we spoke to told us different things – for some, it was the potential for loss or pain that led them to reconsider their alcohol use. For others, it was a sense that they were missing out on something important and meaningful in their lives – whether this was to do with their health or spare time.
When we are thinking about these conversations, it is important to differentiate between the desire to make changes, and the decision to actually take action. Often the decision to take action comes long after the desire to change – and, in many situations, it involves hope.
This might come from reading about another HSM member who was able to make changes in their alcohol use and has seen improvements in their life. It might be speaking to a coach and being able to understand triggers and behaviour a bit more, and see a way through. For many people, a conversation or encounter leads to an ‘aha!’ moment and jolts them out of the ‘stuckness’ that they might have been in – and gives a sense of hope, of the possibility of a different reality.
When we think about it, any meaningful behaviour change involves hope. Whether it is switching-up our exercise regime (with the hope of becoming stronger, fitter, more energetic, more powerful), changing jobs (with the hope for more personal development, more independence, more challenges), or starting a creative pursuit (with the hope to create something meaningful, satisfying and remarkable). If we didn’t hope for something better for our future, it’s likely that we’d keep doing exactly the same things we’ve been doing every day. Hope provides us with motivation and energy to do things differently, and risk failure of disappointment – all in the service of a better future.
If you’re struggling with motivation right now, or wondering what is going to move you from the ‘I want to change’ to ‘I’m going to change’, it might be helpful for you to consider the kinds of things you might hope for in your future. Some things to consider are ‘What is holding me back from happiness or life satisfaction?’, or ‘How would I like things do be different for myself’, or even ‘What would my life be like if I were able to solve this problem?’. Sometimes in the midst of our busy lives, we can forget that a better future is potentially around the corner, if only we had the tools to access it.
If this is striking a chord with you, we’d recommend that you visit the Daybreak app and read through the feed – this is a great source of inspiration and insight into what has helped others through this process, and how their lives have changed as result of changing their relationship with alcohol. There is nothing quite like hearing another person’s story to instil hope in us, since we can see the possibilities, and the outcomes, right before our eyes.