If you have managed to achieve your SMART goal consistently, you should start to notice some of the benefits of reducing your alcohol content, such as less hangovers, losing weight or saving more money. Now you can focus on maintaining the behaviour to help it become a habit.
To do this, firstly, keep checking in with your mindset to make sure you are still motivated to maintain it and keep this goal as part of your life. If you ever find yourself lacking in motivation, think back to your original motivators that made you change your behaviour in the first place. It may also be useful to note down the positive changes you have noticed so far (e.g. saving money), and use this to motivate you to continue. If you do find you relapse, then as explained in part 3 of this blog series, remember that change is not linear, see what you can learn from that experience, and start the next day afresh.
Once your behaviour has become habitual and you are finding it relatively easy to maintain, it is now time to review your goal and set a new one. You can either adapt your maintained goal (e.g. for example reducing your weekly unit consumption further from 16 units to 14) or you can pick a new behaviour to change (e.g. setting a number of drink free days to have a week). It is up to you which route you decide to go down but try to choose what you think will be the easiest to achieve and is the most realistic option. Remember to keep your goal SMART!
From this point forward the process is repetitive:
- Think about the behaviour you want to change and motivate yourself to change it
- Create your SMART goal
- Plan how you will change it, how you will overcome a relapse, and what will help and hinder you with this change
- Once you have achieved it, work on maintaining it
- Once maintained, either adapt your goal or pick a new one!
Keep doing this process for as long as you wish. Hopefully you will notice the benefits of changing your behaviour and reduce your alcohol consumption for good. Good luck! If at any point you are finding yourself struggling, remember to reach out for support at Healthy You. Our alcohol reduction service is completely free, and you can get 6 to 8 one on one sessions with our practitioners to help you change your alcohol related habits. Click here for more information about this service or click here if you would like to sign yourself up.