I had just finished speaking at an event when a young lady came up to me to ask how I managed to permanently quit drinking alcohol. Her interest was piqued because she had tried to quit on several occasions, but always went back to the booze after a period of abstinence.
So how did I manage to quit drinking alcohol permanently?
It’s because I quit my job.
I have recently started to take people through a six-week programme for change. I have called it the NeedyHelper Habit Change Programme. I know…I don’t get any silver stars for originality. One of the wonderful people I am helping is trying to overcome some bad habits relating to food and drink. It made me chuckle when this person asked me when we were going to start talking about food. We were in our third week.
You see in order to change your habits; you first need to change your lifestyle structure. Structure first, habits secondary. The reason the young lady at the seminar was unable to quit drinking is because she was applying all of her efforts into trying to change her habit, when instead she should have been focusing on changing her lifestyle structure.
It is this philosophy that underpins the content of this great book. And it is a great book. Personally, I struggled for the first few chapters. It just wasn’t written in a way that had me desperately turning page after page. But after a while it grew on me. I got used to his language and really enjoyed it. But from a learning perspective it is a book that I will have to be read twice.
So what is the path of least resistance?
Fritz sums it up best by using the analogy of a riverbed. Water will always find its way south through the path of least resistance. It never changes unless the structure changes. Change the riverbed and the water is sent elsewhere. It finds a different path of least resistance. Both Fritz and I believe that this same concept can be applied to your life. Change your life structure and the path of least resistance changes.
“If you are in a structure that leads to oscillation, no solution will help. This is because these psychological solutions do not address the structure, but rather the behaviour that comes from the structure.” – Robert Fritz
Fritz talks about oscillation a lot throughout the book. The best way to describe it is to use the example of the young lady at the seminar. She would quit drinking for a while and then return to it sometime later before once again quitting. This is oscillation, and her lifestyle structure allowed that oscillation to take place.
So how do you stop oscillation?
Fritz covers this when he writes about making a fundamental choice. I call this the ‘One Step Programme.’ I call it that because once you start to create positive habits in your life, it becomes a habit. You can become so good at doing this that once you commit to change it just happens very quickly. Let me use an example by telling you a story about a cup of tea.
I have been drinking tea since I was 11-years of age. That’s 26-years of caffeine addiction. I have also drunk coffee a lot as well, but nowhere near the volume of tea that has passed these lumpy lips. A few weeks ago I made the decision to quit drinking tea and coffee. You will just have to take my word for it when I tell you I was in the double digits, per day, before I quit. I am confident that I will never drink tea or coffee again. It’s not difficult; I am not thinking about it, I have no cravings or no withdrawal symptoms. Like I said, ‘It’s the One Step Programme. ‘This fundamental choice to choose a better way of being is what provides a solid structure and removes oscillation.
Fritz believes, like I do, that you need to learn to ask yourself for what you want, and then go and get it. Fritz believes in the art of creation. Creation that is free from the shackles of circumstance. Movement creates movement. Once I decided to quit drinking I immediately made a fundamental choice to create a life where I helped people improve their own. I couldn’t do that by working on the Railway and so I quit and here I am today. I can never be certain that had I remained that I would have returned to the booze, but I can say with some certainty that the moment I chose to improve my lifestyle structure; create what I call – a Lean Life – there was no way that I would return to a life that involved drinking.
Ask yourself what kind of life do you want to create. Make a fundamental choice to choose a way of being that supports that choice. Start to change your lifestyle structure and avoid oscillation, and then start working on changing your behaviours.
That is what this book is about, and it is also what my new Habit Change Programme is all about as well. If you want to buy Robert Fritz’ wonderful book then just click the link below. If you want further information on my programme then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.