[Video Transcript]

Happy New Year!

It’s Sonya here from Love Being Alcohol Free and I wanted to hop on today and say Happy New Year and I hope that you’re looking forward to 2018 with great anticipation.  Because we can choose to have a great year – and that’s what I’ve done.

I have, since my 20s, I have set goals each year for each coming year.  I don’t know where I first got the idea from actually.  I just really don’t remember, but I started, in my early 20s, setting goals.  And it’s quite amazing, looking back and realizing just how many of those goals we do actually reach.  Others change, and it just got me thinking of, I’ve been setting goals for 2018, trying to decide what sort of activities I’d like to do with the Boys.  What experiences we want to have, what sort of health goals we’ve got.  One of the things I’ve got to really get into is keep walking, just keep getting some exercise because I get so engrossed in just sitting at my computer.  I get a bit too sedentary, so walking is a big one for me.  I used to be a runner but it sounds like too much hard work to me right now!  So, just walking.  So they’re my health goals – that’s part of my health goals for this year.

And it just got me thinking about, I wonder what I wrote down in the last few years about my goals for drinking, given that I eventually gave up.  And so I worked out – I was just jotting down some notes – and I’ve always kept my written down goals somewhere.  I’ve been tidying up a lot lately, so I couldn’t find everything, but I found enough to just make me realize how interesting it is.

I worked out that I gave up drinking completely at the end of 2015 so, the goals I was looking for – the written down goals I was looking for – were sort of 2014 and thereabouts.  So I did actually find my goals for 2014, all written down here, see?  And I actually had them into different categories of health, happiness, attitude, work, house, financial – you know, whatever categories work for your interests, your lifestyle, things you like.

Anyway, under health, I had, “have a maximum of two to three glasses of wine in any given day.” So that was my goal.  So that must have been an improvement on what I was doing. So that doesn’t actually..that’s actually quite a lot.  You know, if that was my goal to reduce to that, that’s a half bottle of wine a day.  I was trying to reduce to that.  So that was in 2014.

But more interesting than that was, I found my goals written down for, (oh! it’s stuck in the book! oh! no it’s not!) 2008.  So 10 years ago now, six 8 years before I stopped drinking, and I had written down:

“habits, drinking:
not happy with level of control,
not drinking at desk by myself,
I only drink with Tony (or others)
only one bottle per week,
say Saturday and Sunday, so skip Friday.

So, clearly, I was drinking Friday, Saturday, Sunday and I felt that having half a bottle Saturday, half a bottle Sunday was okay.

That actually doesn’t sound like I was drinking as much as I was in 2014.  So even though I had goals to – even though I observed there that I was not happy with the level of control and I had goals to improve it,
it actually got worse.

I thought, well that doesn’t really show that goal setting works, does it?

But it got me thinking – perhaps it was the wrong goal.

And in the end, I realized that trying to control what I was doing was the issue for me.  I couldn’t moderate it, I couldn’t control it

Giving up was the thing, and phew, it’s so nice to be at the other end of that.

So I felt that was something I wanted to share because it’s food for thought.

I’m not going to be telling anybody “you have to give up”.

I do obviously promote the benefits and understand it a lot more now than I did at the time I was struggling, and that’s what I want to share. Because it might help people make decisions.  I think there’s a lot of information around our drinking habits in the Western world, in our society in this current day and age, that we don’t even realize.

And that’s the sort of thing I’ve learnt since (giving up drinking).  Anyway, no lecturing!

So, yeah, and it’s interesting that I noted that when I gave up, it wasn’t a plan, it wasn’t a goal, it happened before I’d set my goals in 2015 for 2016.  And I remember at the time it was out of frustration and desperation and just, “I just can’t do this anymore.” And something I haven’t written in anything, any of the articles that I’ve written on the blog, something I haven’t really shared but I’m very open about, is this.  I actually, at the time, went “right, I’m not drinking for 12 months. I’m giving up for 12 months. Just have a break.” Just stop this trying to control it, and then feeling disappointed at myself when I failed. So it was only for 12 months, but I remember very clearly that after about, maybe three weeks,  I just went, “oh my goodness this is so much easier! I feel fine, I’m now out of the habit of what I was doing.”

Obviously, to me, it’s an ongoing process to be mindful about the choice we’ve made and whether we’re going to go back to it.  So, you know, it’s not like it’s necessarily, absolutely simple, and I still have “maintenance thoughts”.  I still am very careful about the thoughts that I have and my responses to certain situations, obviously, because I think that’s just wise.  But I just remember thinking, “this is so much easier.”

So, whilst I do promote setting goals, I promote writing them down and there’s a lot of statistics around that.  People who write down their goals achieve them.  People who don’t set goals and don’t write them down
don’t tend to achieve what they want in life. They tend to find that they ‘go with the flow’ and other people may dictate what they do and don’t do.  So I really am passionate about writing down goals.

But I think, too, it’s very much about really understanding what our intention is. Some great mentors of Tony’s and mine talk about ‘intentions’ more so than the word ‘goal,’and also about the ‘feeling’.  It’s very much about how we want to feel. What is it that we’re looking for? Do we actually want something?  Or do we want to feel something?  And I just wanted to feel good about myself and not feel sick, and feel that I was setting a good example for my boys.

So now is a time to be very much thinking about goals and our intentions for the year – what we want to achieve and how we want to feel.

I just wanted to share that and I hope you found that interesting,
I’m going to keep looking for my other years of written down goals and see what else I can dig out.
I’ve actually got Tony’s here, (we used to write them on the same piece of paper) and he didn’t write anything about cutting down! I’ll have to go and have a word to him about that!
Alright so, I look forward to seeing you in the next video and have a great beginning of the year.