With a determined mindset and a plan, changing any habitual behavior can be possible. If drinking alcohol is on your list of habits to break, rest assured that with the right resources, it can be done. Along with a little perseverance and our epic formula, you will be on a successful path to completely breaking your drinking habit.
Identifying “Why” You Want to Break a Habit
Anything you want to succeed at in life requires motivation. Identifying why you are attempting to achieve a specific goal is what will keep you on your path. Your “why” is what will motivate and re-motivate you during your journey.
Identifying why you want to break your drinking habit is the first essential step of the formula. You need to be honest with yourself because your motivation matters. You can keep your “why” private, or you can share it with others for support. We will explore that concept further below. In the meanwhile, here are some common reasons for wanting to completely change your relationship with alcohol:
- You have brain fog too often
- You have a medical condition that requires cutting back or quitting
- You are losing things that are important (money, job, relationships)
- You want to look and feel healthier
- You are joining a religion
- You want to stay out of jail
- You want to lose weight
It’s important for you to acknowledge and write down the reason(s) you are making a choice to break your habit. You will need this information now and later in order for the formula to work.
How to Completely Change Your Drinking Behavior
At this point, you should know why you are embarking on a mission to break a particular habit. Along with this understanding, a mindset of non-judgment must accompany it. Your job is to stick to the epic plan without criticizing yourself. You’re making a positive choice. Now, take the ride, and feel a sense of reward and accomplishment!
The formula for breaking your drinking habit consists of:
1) Cutting Back and Cutting down. If you normally drink three glasses of wine with dinner, cut down to one. If you drink every night of the week, perhaps allow yourself Friday or Saturday your evening to partake. When cutting back occasions to drink, still keep in mind that cutting down is still part of the equation.
2) Replace the Activity. Instead of going to happy hour, use that time to take a yoga class, watch a movie, or participate in a different social activity that doesn’t revolve around alcohol consumption. Exercise is an awesome replacement because it can lift your spirits and help detoxify your body.
3) Reward Yourself. Instead of spending $10 on a glass of Merlot, use it towards that grilled salmon plate you’ve been wanting to try. You could also treat yourself to a dessert since you’re not using empty calories on alcohol. Or, you could save the money you’re not using on drinks and buy something nice to add to your wardrobe (especially if you’ve lost weight.)
4) Remind Yourself. Here is where your “why” comes in handy again. When you’ve had a setback or you no longer see the use in breaking your habit, look back at your original reasons. Reminding yourself why you made this choice can help you re-motivate and feel more positive and determined.
5) Assess Your Success. After you’ve followed the epic formula for a while, check in with yourself and see you much you’ve accomplished. Do you have a clearer mind? Are you getting more exercise? Have you lost any weight? Have you kept your job? Have you found a job? Have you saved any money? Do you look better? Are you getting better rest? Do you feel better overall?
Ask yourself questions based upon your unique motivation for breaking your drinking habit. Chances are your responses will shed some positive light and a sense of a job well done.
Do I Have to Include Others in My Epic Formula?
The answer to this question is completely up to you. Some sources believe that your journey to breaking a habit is a private matter. You may have enough strength to accomplish your mission on your own. If this is your case, when others ask why you’re not drinking, you can simply respond with, “I’m on a 30-day cleanse”, or “I’ve accepted a personal challenge.”
Other sources believe that including others in your formula can be beneficial. Sharing your goals with loved ones can keep you accountable. It can also allow them to cheer and support you. Some people also find strength when they’re able to enlist a buddy to join them on their journey.
Habits Sometimes Fall Hard
Setting goals and accomplishing them are completely realistic and doable. However, when it comes to breaking a habit, especially drinking, there can be unsavory side effects that come with the territory. To be on the safe side, it’s necessary to understand what those may be.
When cutting down or abstaining from alcohol intake, each person may react differently. Some symptoms may be:
- Changes in sleep patterns; bad dreams
- Irritability, short-temperedness; poor concentration
- Decrease or increase in appetite
- Headache or nausea
If you experience severe symptoms such as: confusion, fever, trembling, or hallucinations, contact a health care provider immediately.
Following the tenets of this formula should completely ensure breaking your drinking habit. And, keep in mind, change can often be quite excellent. Best of luck and best of health on your life’s challenges!