In case you’re not aware, near the beginning of August I decided to challenge myself to abstain from drinking alcohol for nearly 2 months. The original intention was to continue this goal for the entire duration. Due to my accepting of a job offer, and some family coming to visit us, I made an adjustment and added a cheat day in the middle. All things considered, I’m happy to report that I’ve achieved my goal! I’d like to tell you a little bit about how it went.
Back in the day, I spent some time with a professional coach. We covered a number of things throughout the couple months we worked together, but I remember one lesson he shared with me about forming habits. He linked a speech by James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, and in that speech James talked about the Seinfeld Strategy for habits. Here’s a little snippet from James Clear talking about the Seinfeld Strategy.
Essentially, the Seinfeld Strategy is a method for creating good habits or removing bad habits. Commit to an action related to the goal you’re trying to reach and literally mark off each day on a calendar that you succeeded. The goal from there is to not break the chain of consecutive days. This sounded like an interesting concept to me at the time, but I never actually employed the strategy.
Folks, the psychological effects of the Seinfeld Strategy are real. I committed to updating an embedded calendar on my original post about this alcohol abstention goal. There were several temptations to break my commitment to this goal throughout the duration. I’m not lying to you when I say that the thought of breaking that chain on my calendar helped me fend off those temptations. Do yourself a favor and utilize this strategy in some way when you’re trying to achieve a similar goal.
I was tempted to drink (often) during the goal duration.
The 8/3 – 9/25 time frame was chosen because it didn’t include many planned occasions. I thought fewer occasions would make it easier to stick to the goal. Turns out, there is always an excuse to have a drink.
Labor Day weekend was particularly difficult. My girlfriend and I joined my family at Norris Lake in Tennessee for the weekend. When I committed to this goal, the trip wasn’t on the schedule. Had it been, I don’t know that I would have actually made the goal. I really wanted to enjoy some drinks with my family while I was there. I’m happy to report that I didn’t. Like I said, there will always be another excuse to have a drink.
Weight Loss Results
I’m very pleased with the results of this “experiment” even though I didn’t reach my desired body weight. These are the same charts that I posted in my update post, but here they include the entire goal period.
Things to Work On
Honestly, there is really only one thing I plan to work on from here: my physical activity needs to increase.
My walking days weren’t as consistent as I would have liked. Some days I wasn’t able to walk because of the weather (gyms we’re closed due to COVID in North Carolina until September 4, 2020). There were a couple days that I was able to play ice hockey, and so I didn’t end up walking on those days.
Most of the time, though, there wasn’t an excuse… just laziness.
Maybe I’ll apply this same goal format in the near future in an attempt to exercise more.