Whether it be sugar, social media, alcohol or muffins, there are thousands if not millions of individuals at any time attempting to tackle days, weeks, months or years without succumbing to the temptation of one selected 'vice' or another.
We've worked with masses of people who've managed to get through various times without cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, take-out food, crisps and a whole host of other items they're determined to remove from their regular routine or change their relationship with forever.
Here are the top 7 strategies that have helped them succeed:
1) Find an alternative
It's easier to replace something in your routine than remove it and then feel deprived so, instead of telling yourself that you're giving something up, frame your mission as introducing something more positive. Instead of 'no alcohol', focus on 'improved hydration from drinking more water' or 'improved sleep routines' or 'better energy levels in the evenings'.
2) Anticipate squeeze points
You'll be able to tell from your forthcoming schedule when your best intentions to cut back or cut out will be most heavily challenged and spending a little time in advance to plan your strategy around these squeeze points will pay dividends.
You might need to give detailed thought to how you'll maintain your desired changes in specific work or social situations or when you spend time with particular people. Decide ahead of time how you'll deal with these moments.
3) Share your mission
The more people you inform about what you're doing, the easier it will be to succeed. Not only will people understand and accommodate changes in your routine but accountability to others and support from them will strengthen your resolve.
4) Take it one day at a time
A lifetime without something you perceive to be enjoyable in your life sounds like a tall order. A month is a more manageable prospect. One day is even easier to deal with so plan your approach for each day and you'll be amazed at how quickly successful days add up.
5) Acknowledge your progress
Keep notes on how you are doing. If you stumble along the way it's tempting to revert back to your old behaviour but if you can look at hard evidence of just one or two moments of wavering alongside many days of sticking to your task you'll be much more likely to keep things in perspective and refocus on your desired result.
6) Stay engaged
Take time to think about your actions and their results regularly. There's a danger that without conscious thought you can drift into old habits before you know it. Pause regularly to remind yourself of what you're doing and why you're doing it.
7) Find the balance
Update your goals and strategies regularly. Having given up something for a fixed period you need to be clear if this is how your routine will remain or if you'll be introducing things back into your schedule in the medium term and if you are, what does the new balance of your life look like.
It's a great exercise to regularly experiment with your lifestyle choices and everyday habits and, ultimately, it's the only way you'll find out what truly brings you the best energy levels, performance and results, so get into the habit (pardon the pun) of following the guidelines above and very soon you'll evolve a routine that ensures you feel great every day.