According to a YouGov poll, the most common aspirations for the coming year in the U.S. were to eat healthier, get more exercise and to save more money. When it comes to guiding my athletes, I tend to focus on health related issues. Long term health goals are great but are so far out in the calendar that focusing on something a year out becomes difficult. I have learned over the years that short term objectives (goals) in the range of thirty days works better.
Getting the day right is the first step. If you win the day then you can focus on the next day. If you can string together enough good days then check the box for the week. Get enough weeks right and one is on the path to having a good month. Incrementally, progress is made.
This year I had a number of my athletes vow to eliminate alcohol for a month. "Dry January" seemed to resonate for them. I always ask them to share their objective with someone else significant in their lives. This helps with accountability. With only a few days remaining in January I wanted to share some of their feedback and experiences. I ask them two questions.
1. What was the number one thing you have learned so far ?
2. What will you change about your alcohol consumption practice? ___________________________________________________________________________________________
"I have been surprised with how much better I am sleeping. I don't wake up in the early hours and I am more alert in the morning."
"I have decided to only drink on Friday or Saturday but not both."
"While I never paid attention to the money I spent on going to out to dinner and drinking it was rather significant. I have estimated that I was spending at least $125.00 per week on drinking. If I had a date even more ! "
"I am going to start putting money in an envelope ($500.00) that I would typically use for drinking entertainment and only spend cash at the bar. At the end of the month I will take the leftover cash and put it in my savings account maybe in a mutual fund"
"My husband and I are getting along better. Things that bothered me about him don't seem to be as important. I was drinking wine before he arrived home in the evening to prepare for his arrival. For whatever reason that seemed to calm me down for the hours before bed."
"I am not starting to drink even though we are at the end of January. I MIGHT stop entirely."
"I have lost 8 pounds so far. I believe mostly because I am consuming less alcohol calories but I am also not craving sugar and my late evening eating has diminished."
"My wife and I have decided to take all the alcohol out of the house. Without it in the house there will be less temptation to consume during the week."
My hope is that you might become inspired by this small sampling of lessons learned from a Dry January.
Happy New Year!