Quitting alcohol more than 11 years ago was one of the top 3 best decisions I’ve ever made for my own health.
And with January being a popular time to cut out alcohol, I wanted to share some insights with you.
You know what’s funny though?
That even though we’re only a few sentences in, most people won’t be open-minded enough to 1. keep reading, and 2. even consider going alcohol-free for 30 days.
Now, I’m not here to judge or tell you what to do. I couldn’t care less about your decision to drink or not. Instead, I want to empower you to make an educated decision.
Promise me to keep reading. I’m going to challenge you a bit here, but I promise you it’ll be worth it.
How Giving up Alcohol Transforms Your Mind and Body
Giving up alcohol (and cigarettes) back in 2012 was the catalyst for my transformation. It completely changed my life.
Only a few weeks in, I began to notice:
- Better sleep and waking up more refreshed
- Improved energy levels
- More mental clarity and focus
- Better mood and well-being
- Weight loss
I FELT my body and mind change, which gave me a massive boost in motivation and confidence.
3 months later I got into lifting weights, running, and began to eat healthy. 12 months later I lost 30kg and felt like a different person.
Fast-forward to ’22 – ’23, and I’m seeing more and more family members, friends, and clients decide to drink less.
There’s more “X days/years without alcohol” posts going around than ever.
And you know what?
You should try it out! Even if it’s for a little while, let’s say 30 days.
There’s no downside, only benefits!
As Little as 2 Drinks per Week can Impact Your Health
(If you’re a frequent drinker, this may be your least favorite section. Keep reading though!)
Without being too dramatic here, alcohol by definition is a drug.
Ethanol is a Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant that influences brain function, your emotions, and perceptions.
On top of that, alcohol also:
- Causes inflammation
- Blunts fat loss
- Hinders muscle growth
- Is high in calories (which can lead to weight gain)
- Destroys your hormone-levels
- Impacts sleep, recovery, and more…
“What about drinking in moderation, and that old claim about a daily glass of wine being good for you?”
I know, that’s what we’ve been hearing for decades. However…
A recent 2023 systematic review and meta-analysis of 107 cohort studies involving more than 4.8 million participants showed no health improvements in moderate drinkers vs lifetime nondrinkers.
On the contrary, the study found there was an increased risk of all-cause mortality (death of all cause) among moderate drinkers.
You see, it turns out no amount of alcohol consumption is healthy for you.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction even changed their guidelines based on these new findings. While before, the recommendations were no more than 10-15 drinks a week. Now they say that as little as 2 standard drinks a week is associated with serious health risks.
Though guidelines and actual human behavior are of course two different things.
In today’s culture, it’s still more common to get shit-faced on a weekly basis, than it is to enjoy your evening alcohol-free.
And because of that, there’s also a good amount of social-pressure when it comes to drinking.
This also seems to be one of the main points of friction for those who want to drink less. Not drinking is the easy part. It’s often the surprising comments, remarks, and jokes from others that may make you doubt yourself.
9/10 times I mention I quit drinking a long time ago, people assume I used to have a drinking problem. If you’re considering going alcohol-free, expect the same. You’ll get used to it 😉
Should You Try ‘Dry January’?
The idea of ‘Dry January’ dates all the way back to the 1940s.
The Finnish government at the time, launched ‘Raitis Januar’ (‘Sober January’) as part of campaign against the Soviet Union.
Later in 2014, Alcohol Change UK trademarked ‘Dry January’, and since then it’s become increasingly popular.
And guess what? It’s almost January!
(By the way, if you’re reading this at a later stage, don’t feel discouraged. It doesn’t HAVE to be January for you to try this out. I’ll provide you with a checklist below, that you can use to try this out any time.)
Going back to that social pressure, and the comments you may have to deal with anyway…
At least Dry January is more common than not drinking at all, so why not use this opportunity to try it out?
Give it the 30 days, see how you like it. Then decide what you want to do moving forward.
There’s one thing I need to warn you about though. Don’t go into this with quick-fix mindset.
Some people like to use these types of challenges as a ‘get out of jail free card’ to make up for past and future behavior.
If you think “I’m going to ‘detox’ my body from alcohol for 30 days”…
or you go into this knowing you’ll go back to drinking on the regular (2-7+ drinks a week) as soon as you’re done…
… then you might as well not do it.
(If that one stung a little, there’s some truth to it. Right? I’m not here to sugar-coat things, but to help you be the best version of yourself. If that sounded too confronting, then you might want to think about this stuff.)
6 Steps for Improved Health and Well-Being
Now for the fun part!
Here’s a step-by-step plan for you to follow and kick things into motion.
The whole point here is to build MOMENTUM that will lead to more success way beyond the initial 30 days. That’s just the beginning.
1) Create Awareness
You can’t change if you don’t know WHAT needs changing.
Reading this article likely got you thinking already. And since you’re still here, let’s assume you want to try out going alcohol-free.
Don’t stop there, though! Also think about other things you may want to change (this is important for step 5).
2) Take Action
The best time to start taking your health serious was yesterday, the second best time is right now.
That said, just get started.
Not next month.
Start. Take action.
That’s the only thing that will kick things in motion.
3) Keep Track
One of the secret ingredients of creating consistency is accountability.
This is also how a past client quit smoking in the middle of his fat loss phase.
All we did was set the goal of not smoking for ONE more day. Then one more, and another one. It’s been more than a year by now…
How did we do it?
First, I will say, our weekly coaching check-ins held him most accountable. Though we also used a helpful tool, which I’d like to share with you for free.
Go ahead and download our mobile and desktop friendly, printable Habit Tracker (CLICK TO DOWNLOAD).
Download it, use it, and keep track of your daily Wins.
Every day you don’t drink, tick the box.
That’s how you get to 30 days (and beyond), one day at a time.
Make sure to have your Habit Tracker somewhere accessible.
If you use the printable version, put it up somewhere you’ll see it at least a few times a day. The fridge seems to be a popular spot.
(To print, open the PDF, press Command or Control + P, and select landscape mode)
If you use desktop, keep a tab open in your browser. Or, if you use mobile you can access it via the Google Sheets app (that’s what most of our clients do).
Make sure to check it every now and then though.
It’s about creating awareness, taking action, and keeping track of it, sure. But nothing reinforces positive change more than you SEEING how consistent you are.
This also allows you to catch yourself when you do slip up.
Please know that if that happens, that it’s OK, it’s part of changing your habits.
Just go right back to taking action the very next moment.
If you feel like it’s easy, good! Then I want you to ADD to the challenge.
We all have things we can work on to optimize our health more, at any stage. That’s why we started this process with Awareness.
You can amplify the effects from cutting out alcohol by throwing in a second or even third daily action.
The Habit Tracker has room for a total of three action-based goals, feel free to use them if you’re up for it!
6) Keep Going
Last but not least, don’t give up.
If you drink on the regular, you will get comments from others, and that’s OK! They’re not on your journey, and neither are you on theirs.
It’s been awesome to see my clients give ZERO shits about what other people think. There’s no need to waste too much time and energy worrying about what others may say or think.
If you want to improve your health, then that’s your right.
Involve others on your journey, share why you make certain changes and why it’s important to you.
But don’t allow anyone to hold you back, this is for YOU.
Will Drinking Alcohol Become the Next ‘Cigarettes’ of Future Generations?
Personally, I’ll stay alcohol-free.
It’s something I committed myself to keeping up only a few months in, because I liked it so much better.
But that’s me, and what you do with this is completely up to you.
If you want to keep a few drinks in here and there, great!
Then I’d say at least try to optimize every other aspect of your nutrition, health, and fitness. And moderate your intake.
I’m going to make a prediction though…
Future generations will view drinking alcohol the same way most of us currently view smoking cigarettes.
The 6 Steps Summarized
Enough reading, now it’s time to kick off your no-alcohol-for-30-days journey.
1) Create Awareness
Think about WHAT needs changing.
2) Take Action
Don’t wait. Get started right away.
3) Keep Track
Download the Habit Tracker and collect your daily Wins!
On a regular basis, check in with yourself to see where you’re at.
When things get easy, go hard.
6) Keep Going
Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back.
Hope you liked reading this one!
Give yourself the 30 days, show up, and enjoy the positive effects! Your body and brain will thank you.
Afterwards, compare how you feel to how you felt before, and think about what you want to do next.
This might just be the start of something bigger…