Habit #5: You Can Sleep When You’re Dead (which will happen a lot faster if you don’t get enough sleep while you’re alive).
As a nutrition coach, I’ve had many conversations with clients about alcohol. It’s a common issue that stands between them and their health goals, be it weight loss or staying consistent with their positive lifestyle choices. If you are trying to quit or cut back on alcohol, you will need a Plan G. What I mean is, you’ll need several other options to replace it with. You’ll not only need a Plan B, you will need a Plan A, B, C, D, E, F, and G! It is not enough to wake up one day and declare, “No more alcohol! I’ll just drink bubbly water instead!” You will need many strategies and it will take some effort to develop this habit just like any other.Last year I embarked on over 365 days of no alcohol and I learned a lot of strategies along the way. It’s amazing how choosing ZERO alcohol will force you to do some serious investigation and get hella creative. Whether you’re trying to cut back or quit drinking altogether, here are some things to be aware of.
In order to change any habit, we must identify:
When and why am I choosing this behavior?Start looking at when you are choosing alcohol. What are the thoughts that lead to your choice? What was the trigger? Example: For some people they drink while cooking dinner each night. Cooking dinner is the trigger. Then ask, why did you drink? What emotions were you experiencing? Consider you may have felt bored, tired, stressed, or lonely. And if you’re worried that you’re not as fun and relaxed in social gatherings without alcohol, I beg to differ. You’re awesome and isn’t it great to be accepted just the way you are? What can I do instead? What is the positive replacement? (Have a Plan G)We all have different reasons for drinking but a common one is STRESS. We need to build up our other coping skills for relieving stress and use them as a replacement for alcohol. We can teach our brain that the other coping skills also result in positive feelings and then repeat those behaviors until they become automatic (or at least easily accessible during a stress response). The replacement behaviors must be something you actually enjoy doing. For example, I’m not going to do my taxes when I’m bored instead of having wine. Here is my personal list of emotional states and positive replacements. I suggest you make your own list.
How can I shape my environment to support this change?The goal is to make it as easy as possible to stick with your new habit. Relying on willpower alone isn’t a great system because it is unreliable. Plan ahead for yourself. Ideas: