You’ve got to WANT it (or not, I suppose)

Today is day 7 without Coca-Cola in my life.

Its tough! After years and years of more than 1litre a day of the brown stuff, I’ve stopped. Since I don’t drink coffee, this makes me caffeine free for 7 days. And significantly lower in sugar too.

I tried this before and failed. You can read my other blog-post about it here (PERSONAL goalsetting). This week, I’m confident I’ve got the key (touch wood) and I realise that’s its the same as when I quit smoking… You’ve got to WANT it!


When I first “tried” to stop smoking (last century) I was20 years old. I had been smoking for 8 years already and thought it was bad. I thought “I must stop” and I “tried”. For a day or two I managed not to smoke, but it was hell. I wanted a cigarette so badly.

That failing experience was repeated a couple of times over the coming years, in differing degrees of “success” and hellishness.

But one day (a Sunday) at the age of 26 something different happened: By habit, I went to get a cigarette and suddenly realised “I don’t want this crap in my life”. And I really didn’t. I had suddenly understood. As Charlie Sheen says: “I blinked and cured my brain”. I haven’t smoked since and stopping was the most easy natural thing I’ve ever done.


Trying to stop drinking Coca-Cola has been the same in the past. I’ve told myself “I should” and “its bad” and despite several good runs of not drinking it, I always wanted it, craved it. I was fighting against another stronger motivation (for Coke). I failed and like alcoholics, I suppose, falling off the wagon was worse than before I got on it…

Last Monday at 6.29am I suddenly realised: “I don’t want Coke”. I thought I did. My body thinks it does. But I don’t. There’s no should, or must, or “you’re going to die if….”  ….I just get it. And its easy. (OK, my body hates it, but its easIER).


Why am I telling this story? I think the same is probably true for any goal. As Dan Pink says, real motivation has to be intrinsic, with a sense of autonomy. Carrots (“buy yourself an iPOD with the money you save”) and sticks (“…or you’ll become diabetic”) might get some things done, but motivation gets everything done. I am motivated, all by myself …and it works.


If I compare this to the learning world…. I see that when people “get it” (the need to improve, that something else could be better) learning is easy. They just “do it”. I help them, but its easy. But when “my manager sent me” or “I ought to get better” or “I need a promotion” or “its part of my development plan” learning is a lot more painful.


In short: You’ve got to want it.

Thanks for reading.

(If you want to have a list of Coca-Cola-cold-turkey-symptons, mail me)




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Published by Dan Steer

For the last 17 years, I have been helping businesses and individuals to achieve their goals through delivery of tailor-made learning and development initiatives. Most of the time, I deliver training, coach individuals, facilitate brainstorming sessions, round-table meetings and workshops. As a consultant, I help my clients to promote and profit from the infinite learning opportunities within and without their own organisation, drawing on my L+D management experience, strategic approach and creativity, As a speaker, I inspire through story, humour and pertinent little bits of theory. I believe that the world would be a better place if people were happily working on their mission with competence and alignment to personal values. As a freelance worker since 2008, I have helped more than 11000 individuals to improve their presentation, communication, commercial, leadership and negotiation skills. I confront people with their own behaviour and convictions, facilitating and giving pertinent feedback and clear ideas on where to continue good work and improve. I seek to satisfy my clients with creative and to-the-point solutions… …and I make music, but no-one pays me much for it yet :-) First single here:

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