I made the choice in December 2016 that I was going to make 2017 a very different year. I have never been so ready to embrace change and knew that nothing would deter me from my objective. I was going to take my tool box and use the tools in a new way. Instead of reaching for them when I needed them, I was going to use them to prevent feeling stress and burnout.
There were also some other tweaks that I had been thinking about implementing for a while but never felt brave enough.
I was curious about how life would be if I decided not to drink for 12 months. Truthfully, the very idea scared me, but honestly my relationship with alcohol wasn't as healthy as I liked to think it was. I typically would only drink at weekends unless I was on holiday or there was a special occasion, but from time to time the weekend extended to Thursday nights. I knew deep down that I was using alcohol as a distraction or avoidance tactic. On top of which I didn't like the effect it had on my mental well-being.
To a large extent, most of us who drink have developed a dependency of some degree on alcohol. We use it to de-stress, mask and/or numb unhelpful feelings (even if it is at a sub-conscious level) and the brutal reality is that it doesn't de-stress us or solve any of life's problems. In fact it generally makes things worse because we avoid all the things we don't want to deal with.
I bit the bullet and I announced it publicly to friends and on social media (for a degree of accountability). Tying it in with a bigger purpose, (to raise funds for my Zambian Project for disadvantaged children to attend secondary education), was incredibly helpful and motivating when I had moments where my resolve weakened. And the money I would have spent on a bottle of wine went into the fund.
On 1 January, I celebrated 12 months since I had my last alcoholic drink. How do I feel? AMAZING! And yes, I feel incredibly proud of myself. And no I didn't celebrate with a drink!!
Did I have moments when I wanted to reach for a glass of something? Yes, I did, but I learnt to question what the underlying trigger was. Three factors became apparent, drinking because it's habit, drinking because of emotional reasons, and drinking due to peer/societal pressure.
I also created a whole new daily ritual which included learning to meditate which I practice at least twice a day (I make the time, and set the alarm half an hour earlier). I set aside time for exercise as well as planning and prep time for food so that I can eat healthily and took time out for chakra balancing, massage and reflection. And I decided to set some great intentions like choosing to be happy and really appreciating all the important things in life.
What impact have these new healthy habits had?
- I sleep well and I need less sleep
- I have more energy
- More focus and clarity
- I am so much more productive and get more done in less time
- I have a much healthier relationship with myself and others
- My business is better
- I'm happier, calmer and more peaceful
- I'm worry and anxiety free (amazing but true) and mainly stress free too
- And an additional bonus is that I look and feel better
I was recently asked whether I would go back to drinking? I honestly don't know if I will never have a drink again, but at the moment I have no plans that include drinking.
Any real change comes when we recognise that we have to work on our inner transformation. To examine ourselves openly, honestly, vulnerably and to face and get good at releasing emotional blocks and triggers.
If you would like to make 2018 your best year and would like to discuss how I can help you devise a personal development programme to enable you to achieve your desires, please get in touch to arrange a chat.
Alternatively, if you would like to contribute to helping a child have a brighter future, here's the link to my latest fundraising campaign: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/janekeogh