Break your habit of drinking in 4 simple steps with Atomic Habits

Addressing habits in steps can also help, even if these steps seem too small or easily manageable in the beginning. If the habits go together, you might find it easier to address them at the same time. For example, if you want to stop smoking and drinking, and you always do those two things together, quitting both at once may make the most sense. As you repeat the new behavior, the impulse to follow the new routine develops.

  • Getting involved in rounds means you normally end up drinking at the fastest drinker’s pace.
  • Or it may be that spark of social anxiety that cranks up the drinking when you think of an upcoming event with more than three people.
  • Maybe you’re trying to break the habit of always ordering takeout because it’s costing you too much money.
  • Instead you’ve likely just been trying to make a long term behavior change in all the wrong ways.
  • But in the short term, when you were just trying to get out of the drinking cycle, when you were trying to change your cues.
  • In other words, you think you slept, but it’s more likely you woke up repeatedly throughout the night without knowing it.

Eliminating a bad habit is like any other long-term goal. Basically you need daily commitments and reminders to stick with the plan. What often happens is they’ll use this mistake as an excuse to give up. During the weeks while you’re trying to change a routine, you’ll want to avoid the places that cause a negative habit loop. An accountability partner doesn’t have to live nearby.

Take note of your mental health

But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. The irony of alcohol is that we often drink to feel relaxed, to tamp down anxiety. But over time, White says, this can lead to escalating levels of anxiety. “You might drink at night to reduce your anxiety. And then, as a result, the next evening, you feel more anxiety, which then motivates you to drink again,” White says. And, day by day, as the anxiety returns, it may become more intense, which can lead people to drink more heavily.

Steps to Breaking Your 'After Work Drink' Habit

And a big part of the difference is following up that motivation, with the right habits, but also actually creating and stating and sharing what’s called an implementation intention. So basically, what the studies have found, is that if you state your intention to implement a particular behavior, you’re usually between two to three times more likely to actually follow through. So, for me, I started going out for sushi with my husband Instead, it was like easier to not be triggered to get the giant glass of wine at an Italian restaurant. And I found sushi restaurants have absolutely crap red wine. And it was easier for me not to drink at a sushi restaurant.

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Get started by taking the common triggers from strategy #9 and creating a plan for each of these cues. Whenever you follow a new routine, take stock of your mood afterward to see if you still feel a desire to do the bad habit. If it’s still there, then you know the result of this new routine is not the reward you’re seeking. We all have those bad habits we’d like to break.

  • By figuring out what’s causing the bad habit, you can also work on deciding how to manipulate the outcomes of your behavior.
  • These sorts of inner motivations may interact with influences that are acquired through specific experiences.
  • But understanding how habits form in the first place can ease the process.
  • You won’t achieve it, without having a specific outcome in mind coupled with a target date.
  • Without some level of motivation or desire, without a craving to change, we have no reason to act.
  • And that also is why I love the online not drinking groups, because you get to celebrate wins and milestones there.
  • If you consistently behave in ways that cause you to be unhappy or unhealthy, you may be psychologically attached to the bad habits.

So after tracking this habit for a few weeks, you realize that the problem mostly occurs when you’re stressed out or feel like hanging out “The Guys” and watching the ballgame. The best way to make a permanent change is to focus on daily, incremental improvements. Your aim is to wean yourself off this habit by setting target goals where you consistently decrease the quantity or time that you do it. Moreover, cold turkey can make a bad habit even worse.

Understand the need for alcohol after work

When it comes to a social behavior such as being chronically tardy, your ultimate goal of never being late may also be hard to achieve in one step. If you’re typically running 20 or 30 minutes late for your appointments, set a preliminary goal of “only” being 10 minutes late (still annoying to other people but not quite as much). It’s unlikely you can change completely right away if this is an ingrained habit reinforced by others and caused by some self-defeating tendencies. Cutting the tardiness factor by half is a good start. With this mindset, you’ll slowly make incremental changes. At first, you might not notice a shift in your habits.

It’s the buying the wine, the pulling the wine out of the fridge, pouring a glass, taking a sip. A cue triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. What many people don’t realize is that alcohol produces a toxic effect on the body. As it breaks down, a by-product called acetaldehyde is produced.

Having a specific start date creates energy and excitement for this new change. Your aim is to dramatically improve your life, so you should feel energized about this countdown. You won’t succeed if you try to change multiple habits at the same time.

And you can go to to get on the waitlist, I’ll let you know just as soon as all the details are available, so you can check it out and decide if it’s the right fit for you. In this episode I’m going to talk about how to break your habit of drinking in four simple steps – without relying on willpower or hating the process. For the purposes of this article, I’ll assume drinking after work we’re talking about a sticky habit you’d like to change and not alcohol use disorder. Each day, it sounds like you’re feeling like a shaken can of soda that’s about to blow and looking for ways to chill out that don’t involve headaches, weight gain and fatigue. Your motivation to change will be fired up in part by the rewards you get from your new behaviors.

Sober October: 17 ways to unwind after a stressful day – without hitting the booze

Sadly, there will be people, such as fake friends, who will subconsciously (or consciously) try to sabotage your efforts at self-improvement. They could be random strangers, close friends or even family members. Their words can be poison because they’ll flood your mind with self-limiting beliefs. The moment you start believing them, is the moment you’ll take that first step towards failure.

Steps to Breaking Your 'After Work Drink' Habit

But forming a new habit takes time and commitment, so don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you might expect. A 2010 study published in The European Journal of Social Psychology found it took an average of 66 days for a behavior to change (though time varied from 18 to 254 days). If you’re a smoker and you tell yourself not to smoke, your brain still hears “smoke,” Berkman says.