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Choosing Your New Year Resolutions

What Are Your New Year Resolutions Going to be?It’s New Year tomorrow and I’m still deciding on my New Year Resolutions. I’ve scoured the internet and found some of the top 10s, whittled down my list to one or two. Next year I’m definitely going to try to be fitter, happier and spend less time online and more offline.

After a quick Internet search, I’ve found some of the most popular resolutions from around the web:

  1. Lose weight, join a gym
  2. Eat more healthily, give up the snacks and take outs
  3. Improve confidence, and have a bigger smile
  4. Give up smoking, save your health
  5. Be more active, get more energy
  6. Meet more people, have a spring clean
  7. Change jobs, get out of the rut you’re in
  8. Drink less, even try to give up completely
  9. Lower stress, worry less, especially about work
  10. Get offline more, do a digital detox

[Source: 50 New Year’s Resolution Ideas And How To Achieve Each Of Them]

New Year Resolutions have been happening since the year dot. Like most of us, we use them to set goals, learn languages, to get us moving, stop procrastinating or for some, to make life changing changes.

10 years ago I started my New Year Resolution early. About 10 days early. I’d tried to give up drinking, or at least cut down, many, many times. I’d set myself New Year Resolutions, but somehow I could never really get passed the first week or two. This time though, I wrote it down and posted it on the shaving mirror. I told my family that I was giving up drink and was done with getting hangovers anymore.

I think writing it down was one of the things that helped me most.

Because it worked.

Apparently, according to the statisticsbrain.com website, you’re more than 10 times likely to succeed in your goal, by simply making it your New Year Resolution. Do yourself a favour and write it down, put it in a public place, let others see it and work towards your goal.

Other times motivation comes out of the blue. The sudden death if AA Gill, a journalist at The Times, from lung cancer two weeks ago reminds me once again that you can’t assume anything. Making it to retirement isn’t a right, or a guarantee. His diagnosis to his passing took just a few weeks. Some people don’t have as long as that even. He gave up drinking at 30, but continued as a smoker for a mother 15 years or so.

Life is too short.

If you’re thinking of giving up drinking, then why not join with Cancer Research UK or Alcohol Concern, both of whom are doing Dry January events at the same time as raising funds for their charities.

Joining in with an event will help motivate you and keep you on track.

Whatever you decide to do, good luck, write and let us know what you’ve chosen to do and tell us how you’re getting on.

Happy New Year!

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December 21st Marks My 10 Year Anniversary

Now 10 Years Sober
Yesterday was my sobriety birthday. It was 2006 when I gave up. December 21st, 2006 was the last time I drank alcohol. A decade ago. It’s an achievement that I’m proud of, firstly because I never thought I’d make it, secondly I never imagined that I see me change as a person as much as I have.

10 years ago, I was single, with not much of a future. I wallowed in self-pity, blamed everyone else but me and realised that a life of drinking was making me feel depressed. It seemed that things were getting progressively worse, the older I was, more pronounced, especially the hangovers and headaches.

All that changed. Within months I’d got my life on a different path and things have worked out in so many positive ways since, that I count my blessings for giving up drink at that moment.

Though I don’t count the days anymore, (I’m only writing this to show you that it can be done), that it’s worth all the blood, sweat and tears. I’m married now with two young children. It’s wonderful, and I truly believe that it’s been possible because (Carpe Diem), I took the sober path, the path less travelled by and it, it has made all the difference.

So yesterday, December 21st, I raised a glass as I always do and said a silent prayer thanking God for giving me the strength to come through.

Some of you reading this might be thinking of embarking on the same journey. To you, I would say not to hesitate, not to waste a moment, to make the decision and go for it. And in doing so, maybe you will also discover the real you.

Please write your hopes and dreams in the comments box below and if you need inspiration to make the jump just ask for it.

Happy Christmas and New Year to you all.

P.s. Thanks to Lisa Neumann who told me a few years back about this thing called ‘Sobriety Birthdays’ – not every one has a second birthday, it’s good to be part of a community that has!

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If you’ve not yet come across Lolly Daskal, then you really should check out her Twitter feed or her blog. Lolly has written tons of articles on empowerment and on change, many of which have helped me in my journey.

One of her latest posts talks about 32 points to a happier life.

As I read through her article, I realised that most of these points are ones I’ve worked on in the process of giving up drink. Especially points, 1, 4, 6 and 32.

My aim is to have a life of integrity, something that was impossible before giving up. A sense of purpose is now something I very much have, and hope to raise my kids in a new way as a result of who I am now that I no longer drink. There are many others that I can relate to in her list. I recommend you reading it to see if there are pointers there that can help you in your journey.

I’d certainly like to hear what you think and if there are any that really stand out for you. If so, write in your comments and let me know.

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hardship-often-prepares-an-ordinary-person

Giving up drink is a hardship from day one. You feel like you’re missing out not being with your friends, feel that you’re missing out on having fun.

But taking a day at a time you learn to get through it, and the hardship you suffer will add dimensions to your character.

Go forth and find this extraordinary destiny, today!

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Surviving the Holiday Season Newly Sober

Surviving the Holiday SeasonSure, we’re now in the holiday season. Thanksgiving has just passed and that’s the traditional count down to Christmas. To be sure, this is probably the hardest time of the year to give up drinking. What with office parties, drinks with friends, invitations to this and that, and the last thing you want to do is stand out and be the one not drinking.

But, help is indeed at hand. I gave up on the shortest day, December 21st and survived. I once enjoyed binge drinking with friends…but I made it through and with some tips, you can too.

Firstly, if you’ve decided you want to limit your drinking or finish completely, listen to your own thoughts. Well meaning advice from friends around you, that one drink will be fine, don’t listen to them. To be honest, i always thought that people were saying these kinds of things to help them, not you.

Have a couple of strategies on standby, after all every boy scout should be prepared, and so should you be. Have an excuse for not drinking, you’re on medication, you’re driving, or your other half is on a night shift and needs the car back. Whatever it takes, have a white lie at the ready.

Don’t be afraid to tell the barman that you’ve given up drinking, and that you’re drunk friends will try to buy you drinks, but tell him/her that you just want soda water with ice, lemon and an umbrella just like your friends – it’s just between you and him.

Act drunk. Most people on a night out who drink will be quite drunk after an hour or two and won’t remember the night’s events the following day. You will though! As they start to get loud, then do the same, as they start to sing, do the same. Mimicking might help you fit in more and be a boost to your confidence. Either way, so long as it helps you stick to your goal of not drinking that night, then anything goes.

Stay cool, stay sober, keep on track. That’s why we say, “Take it a day at a time.” Because at the start, that’s all you can really do and it’s the process that helps you pull yourself out of the rough and into the clear, and into the new you.

With some strategies and a game plan in your head before you go out over the Christmas period, surviving the holiday season will be easier than you can imagine.

If you are newly sober, or have abstained for a while, write up in the comments what your experiences of the holiday season are and what you did to keep on track.

Happy Christmas

James

P.s. If, you drink an alcoholic drink by mistake, don’t beat yourself up, start over and try again..!