Motivation to stay the course to quit drinking


Today I am touching on how to stay the drink less course.

“Motivation” is the process of inducing you to act in a certain way. However when it comes to drinking less have you found that it can be elusive and fail us when we need it the most?! I have.

Motivation often dips about 3 weeks into a quit drinking mission.

You see, people don’t usually congratulate you for drinking less! In fact, not many people notice when we go alcohol free. People sometimes notice how good we look and ask what we are doing, but that’s usually where the support stops. We might start thinking – what’s the point of all my efforts? Everyone else seems to be having so much fun. But that’s the alcohol voice creeping in… looking for any reason to have just one…! Plus it’s rarely even true.

As we never usually get external motivation from others, we need to source this internally.

Here’s how.

Harness the power of the first 10 days

This is when our motivation is at its highest. The novelty of a new mission is accompanied by a dopamine kick. We are excited. The – usually desperate reasons – why we need to immediately make changes are fresh in our minds. This motivates us too. We know we need to change. We plan ahead, visualise the results and feel like this is going to be it once and for all! Harness this power.

Write YOUR WHY down

This is important. Roll up your sleeves and write down all of the reasons why you need to stop. Detail why it is negatively impacting your life (relationships, health, physical appearance, motivation, happiness – the lot) and even list specific moments when alcohol let you down. Get emotional when doing this if possible. All of this underscores the importance of this mission and imprints this at the forefront of your mind.

“Your WHY will be your motivator when the chips are down and confirmation bias to drink sneaks in in week 3. Know this – your why now is the same as it was last year; will be the same next year and in 5-year’s time. So – listen to it and bring it to fruition.”

Set a feeling-based goal

These goals are so much more motivating than “I must not drink” goals. So what is it going to be? To feel calmer? Less bloated? Less stressed? Name yours.

Days 10 – 40 is the effort phase

Yep, this is when your brain is resisting all the effort and hard-work that it takes to change a behaviour. Why? Because its takes energy and brain power to do so. Your brain makes over 35,000 decisions daily and looks to conserve energy by taking the easier path. Willpower slumps. You are in training!

Drinking is the easier path during this effort phase. Resist! Push through to the next phase. Remember your why. Try to distract yourself with something fun.

Improve your impulse control with a good solid daily practice of exercise, protein, mantras and risk window planning. For some extra tips – see my surfing the urge episode on my De-Stress podcast.

Knowing that this effort phase lies ahead is actually helpful. Can you take pleasure from the pain as it is a sign that alcohol is losing its power over you?

Days 41 – 40 – It all starts to feel easier

Phew. At this stage your mission to quit drinking is starting to feel the norm and your confidence gets a boost. It’s developing into a habit such that the desire has faded and you are unconsciously choosing alcohol free. You are bolstered by how bloody good you feel and this is becoming easier.

Reward yourself here! Acknowledge your successes and reflect that this is simply your new way – forever perhaps?! Alternatively, set a new goal by lengthening this alcohol free mission.

Habit change expert Dr Gina Cleo says that a new habit is fully ingrained by about day 66.

When it comes to drinking however, we need to be extra cautious.The cultural push for you to drink is relentless and powerful. Many people get to day 100 for example and see this as an end date and old habits can easily slip back in. Can you change your mindset – “it is my choice to be alcohol free for the next phase of my life?”

It is really important to continue your new daily practices that have supported you to get to this point.

This is the penny drop. Quitting drinking is a daily practice. It includes, in my view, a morning reflection, daily movement, nutritious high protein food, a structured 5pm – 8pm plan, connection and incorporation of activities into your life which NOURISH your nervous system and allow you to thrive. Essentially, it involves slowly creating life that you want to be present for.

Why not also consider what helps you to motivate your personality type? External accountability in the form of a group challenge, like my Alcohol Freedom Small Group Coaching Challenges perhaps? Listen to podcasts, engage in a alcohol freedom course or podcast and find your people are also great tips.

Whatever your motivation is for drinking less, keep going! It’s worth it.

Yours faithfully