Giving up the booze and achieving goals.

January 31st, 2013

Unusually for me, this year I set myself a New Year Resolution; to give up drinking for the whole of January.

I have been worried from time to time that I drink too much and am too dependent on my (large) glass or two of wine every night. More of a worry was the thought that I could not do without it. Just after new Year and with a few of my friends on the wagon, I saw a tweet about dry-athletes. I had not heard of this before so investigated.

Becoming a dry-athlete is a great idea from Cancer Research. All dry athletes pledge what they would have spent on alcohol for the month of January (in my case an embarrassingly large sum of money) and can be sponsored. You can also offer to taxi friends and family around for a donation equivalent to petrol or taxi fares and buy yourself a night off with a golden ticket for £15. I thought that this was a novel yet simple way to raise funds and it could give me the motivation I needed too.

I thought about it for a while, wondering whether I wanted to do this and more worryingly whether I could do it. Finally I got irritated with my own dithering and doubting and signed up before I could change my mind. I then immediately tweeted and emailed friends who would know how much of a challenge this would be for me. I did still have concerns as to how I would fare but my resolve was hardening.

I have found it difficult at times and am very much looking forward to a  glass of wine. However, I am very proud to say that I have done it; and without the need for any golden ticket too. Here is  how I did it and what helped me to achieve my resolution.

  • Take the decision and make it something important to you. The procrastination, worry and doubt was worse than actually taking action. When I took my own advice to just get on and do it, it was not half as bad as I had feared. It was also something that was important to me.
  • Telling people was vital. I needed to announce to the world  what I was doing, That way failing was far more difficult. There were one or two doubters, the impact of which was to make me even more determined. There is no greater motivator to me than proving doubters wrong.  I inadvertently led a bit of a local movement as three local friends also subsequently signed up. This resulted in both support and competition; I could not possibly be the one to crack.
  • Taking it day by day and focusing on shorter term goals helped. For example getting through the first day, the first night out, the first weekend were the initial challenges, then the first week, half way and finally the last weekend. Had I focused on getting through 31 days from the start it would have been more daunting and difficult. Getting over  those first hurdles also encouraged me and gave me more strength and determination to keep going.
  • Removing obstacles (temptation).  I have had to distract myself at times with displacement activity and changing my normal routines. So rather than sit down when I would do normally with a glass of wine in hand, I have cooked,  edited my photos or written this blog and gone to bed earlier to read my book. I have  to confess that I have also been less sociable which is relatively easy in January. Any half bottles of wine were consumed by my husband or hidden,  the fridge emptied of white wine ready chilled  and an abundance of tempting (well not really) soft drinks were purchased.
  • Celebrate success. I am going to celebrate my achievement with friends, supporters, doubters and fellow abstainers. 1st February may be a dangerous night to be out.

These steps really helped me and they can apply to any goal or resolution. So whatever they are and whenever you set them, I hope that my experience provides some useful guidance and motivation to achieve your own goals. If I can get through a month without a drink, all things are possible!

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In the meantime if anyone does want to support the cause and mark my achievement here is the link to my just giving site

http://www.justgiving.com/dryathlete-alison-love

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