Trying to quit alcohol is tough. The psychological conditioning and societal pressure to continue to drink is immense. What we have discovered at OYNB is that almost anyone can break this bad habit, if they prepare like an athlete.
Here are our top 7 tips that will help you take a break from or quit alcohol
1. Book a physical challenge
This might seem like a strange place to start but it’s key to any alcohol-free period. Book a physical challenge beyond your current abilities. If you can just manage a jog around the block, perhaps start with a 5k parkrun, or if 10k’s your limit then maybe go for a marathon. A physical target such as this will provide:
Focus – To drive your exercise routines
Exercise – To make your body and mind strong
Confidence – That you are capable of more than you ever imagined
Activity – That will fill some of the time you get back from not drinking
2. If you slip up, so what
The quickest way to lasting habit change is through compassion and not the stick of guilt. Studies have shown time and time again that forgiveness leads to personal accountability, whereas guilt leaves us looking for excuses.
There is a common misconception that a slip up means failure, which opens the floodgates to overindulgence. This creates a downward spiral of overeating/drinking and feeling bad about oneself.
If you slip up – so what, who cares, dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes and come back stronger. Let us remind ourselves that no one is perfect and Superman without kryptonite would be boring!
3. Bad habits need replacing not telling off
After years of psychological conditioning, suddenly trying to change an alcohol habit is tricky. The best way to break bad habits is to dress them up as new ones.
Here are 3 quick steps to help you break your bad habits:
Find your trigger – What time, place, emotion, preceding action or person is your trigger?
Uncover what’s driving the habit, what is it you crave? stress relief, companionship…
Change your routine and hack the habit – Once you know what triggers the habit, along with the real driver, all you have to do is replace the routine with a healthy one the provides the same motivation.
If it is companionship that drives you towards those after work drinks, then perhaps book a spin class with some mates instead.
You get the picture, take the time to expose and then replace your unhealthy routines.
4. Use your excuse – I am on a challenge
Most of us need a decent reason ‘not’ to drink- it is sad but true. Alcohol is the only drug in the world that when you give it up people berate you!
Unless you’re pregnant or sick most excuses are destroyed by well-meaning friends, family and colleagues who want their drinking buddies back.
So use your excuse – Everyone loves a challenge and going alcohol-free is just another one to add to your list alongside mud races, triathlons, marathons …
So when the time comes say it loud and proud – Want a drink?
‘Yes I would love a (fill in blank with alcohol-free alternative)’
Yes, I have decided to take a (28/90/365) day alcohol-free challenge and I feel marvellous!
5. Note down all your reasons why you want to quit
List all those reasons why you want to quit alcohol. Get creative and let it all flow.
Use paper, iPad or laptop whatever suits you best. For extra motivation put your list where you can see it as a daily reminder of why you are on this adventure.
6. Keep planning then plan some more
It sounds over the top, but we know, when it comes to going alcohol-free winging it simply does not work. You have to plan like an athlete and expect the unexpected.
There will always be a long lost friend who arrives on your doorstep looking to catch up over a few drinks. Be ready for these moments when they arrive, and they will, give yourself a rye smile, then make the choice that fits with your goals.
Also know what you are going to drink – Phone your chosen venue if you must and find out if they stock your alcohol-free alternative. Always have a backup soft drink just in case you reach the bar and they are out of stock.
7. Drink awareness – Mindfulness is a fantastic habit breaking tool.
From awareness comes the ability to change and being mindful of your habits is the start of this process. The reason our brains love habits is that these processes run without conscious thought saving precious energy. This is great for healthy habits but a problem for those bad ones.
Mindfulness helps shine a bright light on those habits that are holding us back. Suddenly we notice what’s really going on. How much and why we are drinking. As these subconscious routines come back into full view we can apply the steps above to drive home this wonderful change.
A bonus tip – Stay accountable
Daily accountability is so important to lasting habit change. That coach like feeling that you must stay true to your goals or you will have to face your mentor and let them know you have slipped is a powerful motivator. It’s kinda like having your very own personal gym instructor watching over you making sure you turn up and train every day. At OYNB we have a daily interactive accountability post that we encourage all our members to interact with so we all know if they are still on their AF adventure or not. This helps create that coach-like feeling of someone watching out for you making sure you stay on track. This simple daily check-in works wonders.
Join us for the monthly challenge
There is never a perfect time to start this challenge. So why not join us and hundreds of others just like you!
All you have to do is click this link – select the 28 or 90-day challenge and we will do the rest from there.
We look forward to hearing more of your story.