EP #116

Drinkg Plans vs Drinking Goals

alcoholic minimalist podcast

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In this episode of the “Alcohol Minimalist Podcast,” Molly introduces strategies rooted in science to break old patterns and eliminate excuses. She explores the significance of making plans versus setting goals, addressing the challenges of incorporating alcohol-free days and the importance of a growth mindset. Molly encourages individualized approaches, promoting the Sunnyside app as a valuable tool for building healthier drinking habits.

Hey, it’s Molly from alcohol minimalist. What do you do in this October? I would love to have you join me in my more sober October challenge. What do I mean by more sober October, it simply means that we’re going to add in more alcohol free days than you currently been doing, whether that’s one or two or 31. It’s up to you, you get to set your own goal and that’s why it’s more sober October. You can check it out and learn more at get got sunnyside.co/molly It’s totally free. I’ve got grises I’m going to be going live every week to announce the prize winners. And it’s just going to be an awesome event. So I would love to have you join me. You can learn more at get.sunnyside.co/molly and you can get registered today. Welcome to the alcohol minimalist podcast. I’m your host Molly watts. If you want to change your drinking habits and create a peaceful relationship with alcohol, you’re in the right place. This podcast explores the strategies I use to overcome a lifetime of family alcohol abuse, more than 30 years of anxiety and worry about my own drinking and what felt like an unbreakable daily drinking habit. Becoming an alcohol minimalist means removing excess alcohol from your life. So it doesn’t remove you from life. It means being able to take alcohol or leave it without feeling deprived. It means to live peacefully, being able to enjoy a glass of wine without feeling guilty and without needing to finish the bottle. With Science on our side will shatter your past patterns and eliminate your excuses. Changing your relationship with alcohol is possible. I’m here to help you do it. Let’s start now. Well hello and welcome or welcome back to the alcohol minimalist podcast. With me your host Molly Watts coming to you from it’s chilly, chilly Oregon this morning. I think it’s going to be clear though today, which is happy. We’ve been in the clear rain Clear rain kind of pattern for the last few days. We had an epic gorgeous spring day on Saturday. I mean it was almost 70 degrees and I got to take a really long walk outside and it was just so beautiful. One of those days that reminds all Oregonians why we live here. And yeah, today it’s cold. We’re without a furnace again thought a couple of months ago I was talking about the fact that we had no furnace. It was out. It’s out again. Don’t really need it. You know we’re suffering but but in the mornings, it’s like 30 something degrees. Be nice to have it on. Not gonna lie. How are you doing? Are you watching NCAA March Madness. We certainly are around here. And I will throw in a Go Zags. That is the Gonzaga Bulldogs they are to the Sweet 16 Now I think is what they are at finally. And that’s great news they I’ve used I’ve chosen them as my bracket winner for the last I don’t know how many years they they haven’t won yet. Now they’re not ranked number one anymore. So who knows? Maybe this is the year right? So go sides. By the way, I shared in my newsletter, my most recent newsletter, the five things that I learned from playing basketball. Many of you hear me talk about football. I am a die hard football fan, but I actually played basketball. And if you’d like to read that, and you are not subscribed to the newsletter, well, you can go over to the website, you know, download my free book, anything like that you’ll get on the newsletter email list, but also just shoot me an email if you if you prefer Molly at Molly watts.com. And I’m happy to send you or sign you up for the newsletter or at least send you a copy of what I wrote about five things that I learned from playing basketball. All right on to this week’s show. First, I have a prize winner. And if you would like to be entered into the drawing for some alcohol, minimalist swag, all you got to do is leave a review of the podcast or my book breaking the bottle legacy wherever you listen to this podcast wherever you pick up the book. And this week’s winner actually comes from YouTube. This podcast is available on YouTube if you didn’t know that already. I don’t do a lot of I haven’t done any videos. I’m I’m getting ready to so if you haven’t subscribed to the YouTube channel, you might want to do that. And this review comes from YouTube and it is for Brian Orlando. Brian, if you are listening, this is what you had to say. This is excellent messaging. It’s not all or nothing you can achieve your goals. By limiting your alcohol and not going to war with it, thank you. I appreciate that. I agree with you, you can go to you can achieve your goals. He’s talking about goals. That’s coming up later here, folks. And without going to war, yeah, we’re making peace with alcohol. Right. So I appreciate you listening, Brian. And if you would like to email me, Molly at Molly watts.com, I will send you out some alcohol, minimalist swag. All right. This is part number two, in a three part series that I am talking about, that I’ve that I said was planned. And last week, I talked about the difference between having a drink plan and planning to drink. And this is a really important distinction, especially for those of you who have been successfully incorporating multiple alcohol free days each week. But then leaving days that you do drink without a specific plan. You might want to go back and listen to last week’s episode, if that is you. And if you also find yourself resistant to making a plan for the days that you decide to include alcohol. That is really kind of telling you something right? It’s something that you want to get curious about. Why is that? What thoughts about alcohol? Are you still holding on to that may need to be challenged. Again, go back and listen to last week’s episode. And ask yourself, What are you making having a plan for alcohol mean? As I shared last week, it is it was the first episode in a three part series. I’m sharing all about plans, goals, habit change, and personal development, and how these apply to this relationship with alcohol that we talked about. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into making plans versus having goals. And I teased last week about the kind of goals that I used to have around drinking. And I was actually thinking about it a little bit more I remember, like having a goal, I literally had a goal of learning how to like red wine because I didn’t like it. And I kept trying all these different kinds of red wines in this attempt to try to train myself to like red wine because I didn’t like it. Now think about that. Right? that I actually that was my goal. Interesting. Next week, we are going to tie it all together with the three things you need to stop doing to achieve your goals and to change your drinking habits. And as I shared during week one, one of the biggest takeaways that you will hear from me is that your life, your specific challenges, your constraints, all of those things that make your life situation unique, they matter. And we’ll talk about making this area of personal development more personal. And this is what I believe about alcohol and about your drinking habits and about changing your relationship with alcohol. I believe it’s just like anything else in terms of the areas that we focus on and making a making it an area of personal development. This week, we’re going to talk about plans versus goals and what your actual goal is for including alcohol in your life. Do you have one? Is it clear and specific? When I talk about my peaceful relationship with alcohol, I share what works for me which is if you’re new to the show I stick to I adhere to the low risk limits for women which is seven drinks or less in any seven standard drinks or less in any one week and no more than three standard drinks in any one. In any one occasion. I talked a little bit about what that occasion timeframe looks like last week and I include multiple alcohol free days each week. I include an alcohol free month each year and one alcohol free weekend per month. And this year I actually am in taking it just one step further I have shared in my Facebook group I talked about my goal for better than half and I’m going for 70% alcohol free days I have a whole strategy around based on the number of days in a month how you can get there and incorporating more sober October and more dry July dry is July not completely dry in those two months and then of course dry January. Always a participate in dry January. So anyways, that is what I’m doing that for me is where peace, peace lives. Being an alcohol minimalist is a little more concrete and that is where peace lives for me. I can’t decide what peaceful means for you. I know that if people reduce their alcohol intake to alcohol minimalist guidelines, they will be experiencing a dramatic improvement in their risk. To profile are the risks associated with excessive alcohol use. And still peace may be for you being completely alcohol free. Or it might be more than what I drink, maybe it’s nine to 14 drinks per week. The number isn’t everything right? It’s just a piece of the puzzle. It’s a plan that is a part of the bigger goal. One of the key differentiators between what I teach about alcohol misuse or over drinking, is that over drinking is just a habit. It’s not a disease, a character flaw, or even an addiction. Yes, alcohol is an addictive substance, and some people become physically addicted to it. But that number is far smaller than the narrative around alcohol would have you believe. I’ve shared many times the joint study from the CDC, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that showed that only 10.2% of excessive drinkers were physically dependent. Clearly, there are a lot of people who are drinking well beyond low risk limits, who aren’t physically addicted to alcohol, but they may very well have a psychological dependence. And I talk about that all the time. We are programmed by society by the recovery industry by sober communities who believe that excessive drinking over drinking and alcohol use misuse is not just a habit, right? Or even if we use the word habit, because I did see my drinking as a habit for sure. I’ve said here many times I called it my oxymoronic habit, because I had so much negative association with alcohol from my mother’s physical dependence, it wasn’t logical to me that I’d misuse alcohol, he would think I would want to avoid alcohol, right? That’s what made more sense to me. So since I hadn’t avoided alcohol, I therefore believed that my genetics caused me to desire alcohol more than others. And that was why I over drank my genetics, I believed created my drinking habit, and therefore the habit was different than other habits. It was hardwired in me literally, because like a part of my DNA. And why is that important? I’ll illustrate that with another one of my habits, that is a habit that doesn’t necessarily serve me, I have a long standing habit of snacking on chips, potato chips, tortilla chips, corn chips, you name the chip, I eat them. In my book, I share some of the backstory on eating chips as a habit pattern, I learned from a very young age. And I know where the habit started with chips. And so I’ve never believed it to be unbreakable as I did with alcohol. In fact, there have been many times in my life where I haven’t eaten chips. I don’t eat chips everyday like I used to when I was a kid. And yet, I still feel a strong desire to eat chips in certain places times. And in responses to events in my life. The length of time that I’ve had a habit around chips makes that neural pathway very ingrained. But I never labeled it as different in my head the way I did with alcohol. My drinking habit, quote unquote, felt different to me. It felt like a biological part of me, which made it seem really unbreakable. Now, if that’s how you feel that your drinking habit is different, that it’s more or less unbreakable for any reason, then I encourage you to stick around because when you change that thought, when you start to believe that your relationship with alcohol isn’t too different than other habits, that’s where we can create sustainable change and adopt an alcohol, minimalist lifestyle for the rest of your life. Right. Just a quick break to talk with you about Sunnyside. You hear me talk about it on the podcast and truthfully I have so many students and group members that share with me how Sunnyside is their preferred tool. It helps them build their healthier drinking habits and really create that peaceful relationship with alcohol. It’s a tool that I feel very confident in recommending. And the Sunnyside team has recently in September launched a new iOS app. And that iOS app is going to just enhance the existing text message experience. It makes it easier to build healthier drinking habits for anyone looking to cut back or simply drink more mindfully. The new Sunnyside community is also available only in the new iOS app. And it gives you access to an engaged community of like minded people who are also on a journey to cut back on drinking and build healthier drinking habits. It’s a safe private space and you’ll get access to inspiration and advice from Sunnyside members as well as coaches. I encourage you to go check out Sunnyside, go to www.sunnyside.co/molly to get started on a free 15 day trial. That’s www.sunnyside.co/molly. Alright, back to plans and goals, which are parts of habits right? You see how this is all interconnected. We need to have all of these to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. And we want to be clear about what each one looks like and how each works in our day to day lives. Last week, I talked about creating a doable drink plan, and why having a plan ahead of time is an important part of rewiring your brain’s neural pathway with alcohol. changing how we think about alcohol, what we believe about it, that is at the core of sustainable change. In last week’s episode, I highlighted the difference between having a plan and simply planning to drink. I suggested that if you find yourself wanting to plan to drink, you likely still have some work to do on your thoughts around alcohol. What I should have also said was that you may have some work to do on your thoughts around what having a plan means what you’re making it mean, do you have thoughts like why do I have to have a plan none of my friends have a plan around drinking, or making a plan ahead of time takes all the fun out of drinking, or my plan in the morning is different than my plan at night. Here’s what I know about plans, and what plans mean for habits and what habits mean for your goals. Plans are stepping stones to habits, which are the stepping stones to goals. Making a doable drink plan is how I’ve built the habits I have as an alcohol minimalist. And the habits I have as an alcohol minimalist is what underpins my goal of having a peaceful relationship with alcohol. It’s really easy to set big goals. Most people who work with me have no problem letting me know that their goal is to drink less. I would actually say that drinking less isn’t the goal. It’s the habit that is going to achieve the goal, which in my world is peace. I want you to help I want to help you create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. When that goal is purposefully not defined by numbers or time, I referenced fast change versus slow, sustainable change last week, and I talked about making this area of personal development more personal. We live in a world that is highly focused on achievement. And if you’re listening to this podcast, I know that you are someone who is interested in self development. What I want you to remember that in everything I share with you, you have to curate what works for you in your personal life. And it’s why our goals habits plans are different and can still support sustainable change. There is no finish line here. We are creating a lifestyle, not an achievement, not an end result. In my Facebook group, one of our members was sharing that she is having a lot of challenges in her life right now. These are real circumstances that are creating a lot of stress. While she is still wanting to work on changing her relationship with alcohol and not current alcohol. Try to relieve that stress. She made the comment, I’m finding it hard to focus on being alcohol free. Right now. Not drinking seems impossible, but I will be happy if I can limit myself to two drinks. I encouraged her to make a plan ahead of time for those two drinks. If she isn’t 80 to 90% sure she can stick to an alcohol free day, then plan for the two drinks. It doesn’t mean you have to drink right. This way she can rebuild trust with herself that she makes plans and sticks to them. Even if she takes another month for her to be ready to add back in alcohol free days. This is still progress and still work towards the goal of peaceful relationship with alcohol. When we are true to ourselves, and honest about recognizing our individual needs and desires. We are more are likely to not only feel invested in our development, we’re more likely to actually develop in ways that count for the long term, we can make plans that resonate with us and celebrate the progress we make towards achieving them. On the other hand, if we follow strategies and tactics, try to white knuckle or willpower ourselves into what we think we’re supposed to be doing, we make quickly lose interest and give up. This also makes me think of how important it is to be thoughtful with who we are letting into our lives from a level of influence. Now, I want to preface this in saying that you don’t have to agree with everything I say, to learn from me, you still get to apply it to your own personal circumstances, which may be very important, especially with respect to the pace of change and creating sustainable, lifelong change. Focusing on the personal aspect of personal development can help develop a growth mindset, which is key to achieving long term success. You’ve heard me talk about growth mindsets before, I will link those in the show notes. In terms of the episode numbers, I talked about it. In my conversation with Joe bowler on the limitless mind, I talked about it in an episode on dry January like this, those episode links will be in the show notes. When we approach personal growth with an open mind and a growth mindset, with a willingness to learn and evolve, we are more likely to embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth. This mindset helps us achieve our goals, develop resilience, and adapt to change. Now, there are undoubtedly some people who will interpret what I shared with my group member as, quote unquote permission to drink, or as an excuse to not to stick to long term goals. I would simply say this, changing your drinking habits takes time. And learning how to include alcohol in your life in a way that supports your long term goals takes time as well. When we create plans ahead of time, with our logical goal oriented future focused brain, then it’s there, plan is there. And even if we don’t stick to it, we can reflect on that and learn from it, which continues to support long term sustainable change. We make plans that align with our long term goals. We take small steps towards new habits that become our default, that become the bedrock of our goal, peaceful relationship with alcohol for the rest of our life. We keep our mindset growth oriented, and anticipate struggles as just part of the process. Next week, I am wrapping all of this up with the three things you need to stop doing to achieve your goal have a peaceful relationship with alcohol. This week, ask yourself what is your goal with alcohol? What does peace mean to you? What plans are you making that are helping you build new habits? Finally, I just want to make sure that you really ask yourself dig deep. Do you believe that your drinking habits that your relationship with alcohol is something that’s just a habit based action? That is something that you can have a goal around? Or are you still operating from that black and white binary narrative that says that if you are over drinking or misusing alcohol in any way that you are diseased or broken or have a problem, right? If you still think that about yourself, I want you to challenge those self limiting beliefs. I want you to start changing your thoughts and really see the possibility that this is just a habit that doesn’t serve you and you can absolutely without question, create the change that you want, you can create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. It is possible and I’m here to help you do it. Until next time, my friends, choose peace. Thank you for listening to the alcohol minimalist podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping you change your drinking habits and to create a peaceful relationship with alcohol. Use something you learned in today’s episode and apply it to your life this week. Transformation is possible you have the power to change your relationship with alcohol now, for more information, please visit me at www dot Molly watts.com