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“How I Changed a Habit” – Moving Toward What You Want

By June 29, 2017January 25th, 20188 Comments

Kevin Bulmer Video Blog - How I Changed a Habit

This post marks the 2-year anniversary of my decision to quit drinking alcohol. Considering how much of a grip it used to have on me, I suppose I should be proud. I struggled to stop for a long time.

Here’s how I finally did it.

Video transcript: You know what that is, don’t you (the logo in the photo the right)? Well sure, it’s the Superman logo! So if I already knew that you knew that, why would I be inviting you into my kitchen to show you my pretty little magnet up on the fridge?

It’s an example of how you can build a picture and how powerful it can be to move toward something as opposed to coming at it with a mindset of trying to get away from something, because when do that, try to get away from it, without even necessarily being aware of it, we sometimes reinforce a negative with our thoughts.

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I’ll give you an example. Here’s some context. I saw this symbol (the Superman “S”) early in 2015 and I thought, “That ‘S’ might just as well stand for ‘sober’ as it does for Superman,” and this is not an anti-alcohol rant, okay? I’m just telling you about something related to me and how it helped, because prior to that, I had tried and failed. I kept falling back into the quicksand to stop – there I go again – to change a habit of coming home most nights, reaching into the fridge and grabbing a beer, which would usually turn into two or three or more.

I did that more nights than not for a long time. I didn’t need anybody else to tell me whether what I was doing was good, bad, or indifferent. I knew that it was something that I wanted to change, and it bothered me that it took so much effort for me to go a week, two weeks, a month or a couple of days without feeling like I was falling back into that quicksand again. And then I would have all those arrows of judgment that I would fire into myself.

Re-Affirming a Negative

Well, I can look back now and see that I was thinking of it like this (see if you can relate with anything that you’re trying to change): it might be related to your relationship, your job, a new skill that you’re looking to build, anything, something that you want to change.

So I was thinking about that habit that I had, and I thought, “I’ve got to stop that. I need to get away from that.” I thought, “I don’t want to feel weak. I don’t want to feel dependent. I don’t want to be waking up a couple of times in the middle of the night. I don’t want to be spending the extra money on it. I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to.”

So guess what I kept getting more of?

Well then one day, I came across that symbol, and I know who Superman is. I’ve always been aware of him. I’m not particularly a Superman fanatic or anything like that, but as I described a minute ago, I looked at that and I thought, “You know, that might just as well stand for ‘sober’ as it does for Superman.”

The Pull Of Something Positive

That changed the perception in my mind of what I was moving toward. It gave me a picture to be able to hold with me, and it told me that that idea of sober or sobriety represented strength and dependability and flexibility and independence and individuality and compassion and energy, and the more I thought about that, the more excited I got about it.

So I went and I got the magnet and I stuck it on the fridge where it remains, and I went and got a Superman key chain so that I would have that logo and that reminder with me at all times, in my pocket, in the car, wherever I was, that was with me. I went and got t-shirts with the Superman logo, and I would wear one to bed at night so that when I woke up in the morning and I saw myself in the mirror brushing my teeth, I saw the Superman logo emblazoned across my chest. It’s amazing what that’ll do for you.

I also got another one (a t-shirt) I would wear that to the gym and as I was going from the locker room to the exercise floor with that logo across my chest, in my ear buds I’d have the Superman theme coming from my iPod, the original John Williams song, and that’s a really powerful, emotional song to be listening to as you’re walking into an environment where you know you’re about to do something that makes you stronger and more energetic.

All of that combined had an incredible pull. It took me from that emotional quicksand and pulled me forward. It gave me a picture. It gave me an idea, an image, to move toward what I wanted.

And guess what happened?

It gave me an idea, an image, to move toward what I wanted.

Exactly. Last time I had a drink of beer was June of 2015. It took a little while before I stopped having that automatic reflex of going to it even when I didn’t want it. Now, I don’t even think about it. That logo has helped me to improve in immeasurable ways far beyond just the one habit that I’ve talked about here that I wanted to try to break up.

So how can you apply this to your life? What are you trying to change? Where do you want to go? My advice, let’s not think about getting away from something. Let’s think about moving towards something, and let’s reinforce what we want and figure out a way to build a picture in your mind to be able to start moving toward that and reinforce it however you can, whether it’s Superman logo or Wonder Woman or whatever it might be. It might be a picture of another person or a place, but do whatever you can like I did.

Stick it up on your fridge if you have to and watch how your life starts to change.

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  • Kelly Rhoades says:

    Kevin –
    Hey man thanks for sharing this, I work with addicts all the time who feel like it’s just impossible to beat their addiction. Your story is one that can help inspire others to believe they can do it too, and I love that. Moving towards something is so much more effective than trying to stop something. Powerful point man, great work! Keep inspiring!

    • Kevin says:

      Thank you, Kelly!
      I’m honored to have you visit the site, and grateful for your kind words and to know you’re out there doing the work you’re doing. Keep it up.
      Best wishes,

  • Joe Petruzzi says:

    Very powerful message! It is so relate able, every time I need to break a bad habit or start a good one, the negatives always leak out. Maintaining a positive goal and perception is definitely the most effective route to accomplish any goal such as that. Well said!

  • Lisa Meister says:

    Wow, Kevin, that is amazing! You are certainly a Superman to pull that off! You have my congratulations. Have you found this strategy helpful for other people stuggling with addictions?

    • Kevin says:

      Hi Lisa,
      Thank you for those kind words. I feel that, for anyone struggling with addiction with just about anything, there are underlying reasons for that behavior that likely need to be understood and dealt with. However I do also feel that developing a mindset of moving toward something is a much more powerful agent for change that reinforcing a negative though and trying to move away from something without something better in mind to interrupt the habit pattern.
      Best wishes,

  • Lawrence Gregory says:

    Wow Kevin, this post is incredibly empowering and inspiring!

    You are making amazing progress this far and you made the right decision in giving up alcohol even though it was very challenging, I’m glad superman came to the rescue 😉

    Also what really resonates with me is the bit where you talk about trying to run away from our problems just creates more of the same. It just reinforces the negativity that we are trying to escape in the first place.



    • Kevin says:

      Hi Lawrence!
      It’s nice to see you here and thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments very much. Yes, when we tell ourselves “DON’T do that,” the message we’re basically driving into our sub conscious mind is “do that.” I’ve learned that the hard way.
      Best wishes!

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