Friday, 5 October 2012

Upcoming Will-power series

We are already in October and Christmas is fast approaching. 

Christmas is a time for cheer or so they sell it. More like drunken nights and rotten hangovers, if my memory serves me right.

Many of us increase our drinking over the Christmas period, because there are many more opportunities to do so.  There are work parties, friends and family get togethers, and in general we have a little more time (less to do at work and some holidays). 

We also increase our drinking because it’s expected of us, this is especially so for people with a reputation for drinking.  If you don’t live up to your reputation for drinking, people tend to think something is wrong.  (John, what’s wrong, why don’t you have a drink?  ORANGE JUICE!  You don't have to drive tonight, do you?  Come on John, get lively, here's a drink for you.  Etc).

So to help you get prepared for the Christmas period and to avoid an increase in your drinking and possibly a decrease, there will be a short series on will-power.

Will-power series

1st – review of a Google Talk by Kelly McGonigal.  In this talk she highlights five things that we can do to improve our will-power/self control.  I’ll provide a short review of the highlights from her talk and how drinkers might use these.

2nd – Environment >Will-power.  The focus will be on how we can change our environment so that it supports a more moderate approach to drinking.  This is very applicable to the home.  We also look at ways of automating decisions instead of using will-power, which can be used for social occasions where you have little control over the environment.

3rd – Summary

I’ve learned some things about will-power which I wasn’t aware of before.  There’s a lot of talk of will-power as a limited resource.  In layman’s terms, every day we have X amount of will-power and making decisions, communications and ‘self-control’ uses up your will-power.  So that by the end of the day, many people have used up their ‘will-power’ resource and are unable to resist temptation.  It’s a bit more complicated than this and for a fuller review read here.
Change of view on Will-power?

I’ve used the BJ Fogg model of habit change, which emphasis behaviour change and use of triggers over will-power.  I’ve written about will-power before.
Will-power is overrated!
Why drinkers drink.  A look at motivation.

But I think Kelly McGonigal ideas will support anyone trying to moderate or abstain from drinking (or to change any habit) and are worth knowing and experimenting with.

More on will-power soon.
Other articles to help you become a moderate drinker

October Challenge

I consider my drinking still to be moderate and I’m happy that my drinking habit is quite stable.  When I’m at home, I tend to drink one or two glasses of wine at a time.  In September, I think I was drinking more often though and to address this, I’ve decided to cut out alcohol for October.  It’s also partially because when I cut out alcohol in March, I felt really good (but I had also started exercising at that time too) and I’m curious to see whether this will happen again.

It also feels different this time, as it doesn’t feel so much like a challenge.  In January, I drunk like my old self and March was only a short time after that, so it felt like something I must do.  This time, it feels quite easy not to drink.  Well, it’s only been four days so far.

I have one exception for drinking in October and that is, if my friend from Taiwan comes over, I’ll have a beer with him.  This exception is in place because the last time he came over was in March and I think he was a little disappointed that I didn’t share a beer with him.