You may not have an addictive personality. (Last week’s post about getting on the scale showed I certainly do.)
But everybody has something on which they’re hooked.
Ideally it’s not drugs or alcohol or cigarettes. Likely, it’s something like work or even social media. Something that:
- You constantly think about.
- You spend more time on than you’d like.
- Gives you instant feedback (usually giving you a reward like a dopamine release).
So what if we could channel this addition to our benefit. And how would we do it?
Well a guy named Marshall Mathers, known by most as Emimem did just that.
How Eminem lost 80 lbs by switching addictions
Ideally, however, you can see some parallels to this story and be motivated and inspired to take similar action.
Eminem had it all.
- A secure place in hip-hop history books (and, debatably, its “Mount Rushmore”).
But he also had an addition. Like, a really, really bad one.
Eminem was addicted to prescription pain killers.
(Customized M&M’s being eating by someone addicted to sugar. Get it? Eminem was addicted to pills. I know. How ironic.)
Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar, prescription pain killers are the pharmacological equivalent to heroin.
This type of addiction is like when you open up a bag of HFCS-laden candy. You have one and can’t stop thinking about your next one. (Except the prescription pain killers are 100x more addictive.)
Ever had one Nibs candy? Yah.
At his worst, Eminem was taking 40 pills a day. 40!
He ended up in the hospital after nearly overdosing. Unsurprisingly, doctors said “no more pills”.
So what did Eminem do to fill the void?
Eminem ran eight and a half miles in the morning and eight and a half in the afternoon.
Yes, he ended up losing 80 lbs, but getting in shape was not why he ran on-the-regular.
He was addicted to it.
The all-natural dopamine rush.
Physically, it felt amazing.
But there was also the mental component.
He was keeping the streak alive.
So this is a great story. But what if you don’t have any addictions?
How to channel addiction to get what you want
You don’t have to have any addiction, per se, to make this work.
All you need is to be honest with yourself.
Step 1) Identify your addiction.
What do you do compulsively? What do you spend a lot of time thinking about? What is something that you (arguably) spend too much time doing?
Maybe it’s your work. Maybe it’s a game you play. Maybe it’s the news (and related podcasts and primetime TV shows).
Just find something.
Step 2) Pick one thing.
There are a lot of small things you can do to help you get what you want. Here are some suggestions:
- Give up soda (even diet)
- Make breakfast
- Lift some weights
- Run after work
- Walk at lunch
- Do some yoga.
- Give up HFCS
- Make a smoothie
A lot of these will give you the dopamine you crave. Plus, you’ll get the added benefit of getting what you want.
Now, pick one of those and start today (NOT tomorrow).
Step 3) Keep the streak alive.
Let your new addiction dominate your mind. Think of it like a pet.
Don’t let it die.
There will be days when getting it done will be challenging.
But those days will be the most rewarding.
It happened to Eminem, it will happen to you.
Expect to fail.
Things will be going great. Then, suddenly, you’ll fall off the wagon.
Your streak WILL die.
But here’s the deal:
It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. Relapsing means you’re on your way to success.
Recognize that and it will be easy to start a new streak.
Best part is that this time, building the streak up will be easier than before.
Some Tough Love
Here it is: There’s probably something in your life of which you’re doing too much.
Perhaps it’s not something like a drug that you should or could give up. (Work and staying current on news are good examples.)
If that’s the case, use those things as rewards. Your reward for doing that new “addiction” you picked.
Your reward for keeping the streak alive.
Maybe soon you won’t need to use the old addictions as a reward. Maybe the new habit, the workout or breakfast or smoothie will become a reward in and of itself.
Your new, life-changing addiction.
Eminem: I ran 17 miles a day after hitting 230 pounds http://www.detroitnews.com/story/entertainment/2015/08/03/eminem-running-workout-weight-gain/31071437/
Related LINY articles
High-fiveables: How small wins can drive big outcomes https://lifeisnoyoke.com/high-five-ables/