Sticking with Your Drinking Goals During the Holidays

 

Let’s face it – the holidays can be a stressful time. Here are five things you can do to help keep yourself on track with your drinking goals during the holiday season.

Prepare Yourself, Physically and Mentally

Identify the triggers (more info on identifying triggers click here) you anticipate you may be faced with and have a plan for coping with them. For many, holidays mean more events where alcohol is present. What is your plan? Are you going to carry a single drink around? Are you going to bring a non-alcoholic beverage to share? Stress levels often surge around the holidays and heightened stress can trigger the urge to drink. Make sure you’re well-rested and calm before any event and check in on your stress level periodically. Where does it fall on a scale of 1-10? Try to implement a coping skill when your stress level rises to a 4 or 5, not when it reaches an 8 or a 9.

While for some, the holidays are action packed, for many the holidays are a time when you may feel more lonely or depressed. You’re not alone. Rather than waiting for plans to come to you, take initiative to plan something social, schedule an overdue phone call with someone out of town, or volunteer with a favorite charity.

 

Get Some Support

Share some of what you're going through with a trusted family member. 

Share some of what you're going through with a trusted family member. 

Home for the holidays? If you have a sympathetic family member in your corner, explain your drinking goals in as much or little detail as you want. Ask for their support in making sure you keep your glass topped with something non-alcoholic. If you don’t have a family member who’d be a great fit for this role, enlist a friend or your Annum coach to check in via text or email.  

 

Track Your Goals and Progress

Clarify your goals (for tips on effective goal setting, click here). Write them down before each party or event and then track your progress afterwards. Physically committing by writing them down helps you commit to them mentally.

If you have a slip, don’t throw your progress overboard. Reach out to your Annum coach or a trusted friend who is standing by to provide you support if you fall off track.

 

Stay Connected to the Future

Create an image of the new and improved you — a version of yourself that has met your goals around drinking. What are you most looking forward to when you meet your drinking goals?   Stay connected to that vision of yourself from now until January 2nd and beyond. Studies have shown that mental rehearsal impacts all kinds of brain processes and is linked to outcomes, so this exercise increases the chance you will obtain your goals. Visualization can also help you stay motivated and confident as you ride out any challenges that come your way.

 

Reward Yourself

Create rewards for yourself before the holiday season begins. Know that if you stick to your goals, you’ll get it. You could reward yourself with something small after each successfully navigated event or something really big after the season is over. Maybe enlist a friend to hold the (metaphorical) keys to this reward, so you’ll only get it if you stay on track. You will have worked so hard – you’ll definitely deserve a treat!


True, the holidays can be stressful but they can also be a great time to relax and reconnect with what’s most important to you (learn more about aligning your drinking goals with your values here). I hope these tips will help you feel confident approaching the holiday season!

If you’re interested in Annum but it isn’t available at your workplace yet, download this form you can share anonymously with your benefits department.

 
Lauren Wolfe, PsyD