A new year, a new years’ resolution. Have you ever enthusiastically set a new year’s goal only to have it fall over by the time February rolls around? We’ve all been there.
Why? It could be that those resolutions are too big or unrealistic and you’ve set yourself up for failure instead of success right from the get-go.
Success means different things for different people. When it comes to your relationship with alcohol, if you’ve ever wondered about how to set great goals and how to keep to them to make real changes, read on.
If you are planning to cut back on alcohol, or quit altogether, you’ll be pleased to know that this is possible.
You’ll find your own recipe for success by being clear on your ‘why’ and what your specific goals are.
What is your reason, your ‘why’? There are many benefits of cutting back on or quitting alcohol. What is meaningful to you? Do you want to be healthier? Do you want to have more energy for your family and friends? Do you want to save money? Reflect on what is important to you and keep it in mind during those times when it feels a little hard to stay on track. If you are making changes because you ‘should’ or someone else wants you to, you are likely to be unsuccessful.
What are your goals?
Creating specific goals for yourself will help you identify a way forward. Do you want to cut back on or quit alcohol completely? Perhaps it’s an exercise goal? Regardless of your goal, the one thing that is common across any goal is that you need to take it one step at a time and be kind to yourself. If you lose your way, pick yourself up and start again. It’s OK. You are human.
Depending on how much you currently drink, your goal could be to reduce your number of daily or weekly standard drinks or to have drink-free days. The less you drink, the lower your risk of harm from alcohol.
The National Health and Medical Research Council says in its alcohol guidelines that, ‘…to reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day.’
This could be a goal you could work towards, day by day, at your own pace.
It’s OK to ask for help
To go far, go together. It’s OK to ask for help instead of going it alone by yourself. Having the support of others can be just what you need to keep you going when challenges come up for you, rather than throwing in the towel.
The Daybreak community is completely anonymous, a cheer squad of like-minded people on a similar journey. You can also keep track of your drinking and see the progress you make with the in-built drink tracker in the Daybreak app to help keep you accountable to yourself.
Messages of hope and encouragement
Whether you want to take a short break, cut back, or quit, support from other people can help remind you that you’re not alone. If others can do it, so can you.
Here are some inspiring messages of hope and encouragement from the Hello Sunday Morning and Daybreak community to help you on your way.
‘To anyone who is contemplating a NYE resolution, back yourself and give it a go. If you stumble along the way, start afresh the next day. We all stumble at times in our life, but it’s how we move forward that matters.’
‘I am currently drinking but what’s worked for me for the past 2 years is selected months of the year to enjoy drinking, like Jan – June no drinking …Summer drinks, quit again Sept – Dec, Xmas drinks and back to January… I feel it has benefit having so many drink free months.’
‘I have just done a month off all alcohol and tobacco (main aim to not smoke and leaving out alcohol came as a massive bonus) and I felt great in myself. Calmer, more present, more engaged with my daughter, clearer minded, much better physical health and more exercise, saved money, the list goes on. I decided to let myself drink and smoke this weekend on a family and friends camping trip. I have regretted the ill health and lower mood each morning after and am itching to get back to my healthier lifestyle. Not even sure I enjoy it like I used to, less fun and more pain and regret.’
‘For me, moderation was the key. And a sustainable one. Going from four drinks per night to 4 per week. I feel stress-free knowing if I feel like a drink I can have one. I think it also helped with some withdrawal symptoms I had. I have said to myself if I cannot maintain moderation then the next step is abstinence. This is a big incentive for me to stay on track.’
‘The next time a wave hits you, you remember how you rode it out last time. You can do this. You feel better. You look fresher. The eyes never lie. Ask for help. Find a community. You will learn so much about yourself. Find out who you really are and accept yourself. Flaws and all. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Enjoy the silence. Be your own best friend. Freedom. If you fall, pick yourself up.’
‘Today I have decided to stop drinking, I am sick of feeling rubbish. I feel strong enough to refuse a drink for the first time in my life, I have always crumbled and said yes when deep down inside I wanted to say no. It’s early days, but the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, today is my first step.’
Be clear on your ‘why’ and your goals. Ask for help when you need it and give yourself a chance to change your relationship with alcohol this year.
The Hello Sunday Morning Team