Whether you are a personal trainer, a mother, or one of the guys who desperately wants to get rid of his dad bod, you’ll benefit from instigating this challenge.
Where Did Sober October Come From?
Is it only because it rhymes? Nope! But it does help.
Sober October was started by MacMillan Cancer Support Group in the United Kingdom in order to raise money for cancer victims. It also had the side benefit of promoting health and wellness in society.
The Benefits of Staying Sober for One Month
There are obvious mental benefits of not taking in alcohol or other mind-altering drugs (such as cannabis).
If you are trying to lose weight, increase energy levels, or just be healthier in general, then cutting the extra carbohydrates/sugar that comes with drinking alcohol is pushing you in the right direction.
Use this as a boost to reach your fitness or weight loss goals.
And who knows, maybe you’ll stick with your NEW habit of not drinking.
Getting Your Friends Into It
This is almost necessary to even complete the challenge.
When you’re abstaining from alcohol for a month, your friends are either on board, or they are the enemy. Since your friends, by nature, aren’t exactly enemies, this kind of makes things a bit screwy.
Just get them on board and you will all benefit from not taking in any unnecessary substances.
If they are on board, you are 90% more likely to stick with it. I may have just made that statistic up, but it is somewhat based on what I’ve seen. Friends are great, until they pull you away from your goals. True friends will respect your wishes to better yourself. They’ll give you your space for a month for this “silly experiment” of yours.
If someone really is trying to pull you back into drinking, just ignore their calls and let them go. You’ve got your own goals to attend to and you’re not dragging them away from theirs, so drop ‘em.
How To Do It
It is best if you have a community, a trainer, and a calendar.
Post a calendar on the wall and, for the month of October, make a big “X” on every day that you stay with your goals. If you’ve decided to work out 3 days per week and abstain from alcohol for the whole month, then mark that down.
Make sure you’re working out and not drinking and every day that you do – mark it.
Get a fitness trainer to hold you to your word, along with your wife, your kids, your mom, your friends, and your priest. Get everyone involved so you’ve got some social pressure to make yourself better. If you fail, fail in front of all of them.
What To Do if You Screw Up
If you screw up and have a drink, get back on it.
It’s probably the best month you’ve had in a long time, so don’t give up now. Just because you had a few drinks doesn’t mean you have to drink every day for the remainder of the month of October.
Slowly, but surely get back on the wagon. Get through October and, if you’re doing well, stay sober for 31 days straight so you can prove to yourself that it can be done.
Mind over matter.
Your friends and family will support you in your struggle, whether you’re a light, mild or heavy drinker. Let them. Don’t hide when you fall off the wagon. You showed them your ambition, now show them your weakness.
Now, show them how much stronger you are to pull yourself up after being down.
Measure Your Progress
Something that will keep you going is to see the progress you’ve made since you started.
For many people, this means measuring their weight, waist, and any other performance metric of your choice. Each person has their own goals. Make yours very clear so that you don’t deviate.
Goals should be objective. They should be reachable. There should be a very simple way to measure whether you made it or not.
I have found that a good way to go about this is to make a graph of where your weight should be, or your belly circumference, or your weight lifted. Whatever it is, keep a graph and make sure you’re sticking to the expected gains as you go along.
If you start to go off track, get with your trainer to see what is going wrong. Get with your friends or your wife or whoever you need to. Just get back on track. Make it all about the graph.
When you start making it about “How you feel” or some subjective thing about mental health, it gets derailed immediately.
Just keep it to your objective goals.
When You Feel Like Quitting
Make sure that you have that calendar displayed prominently in your home.
When you want to quit, look up at it and how far you have come. Look at how far you have to go.
Realize that this is part of a bigger plan to better yourself and take you from Point A to Point B.
There are all sorts of gimmicks for staying sober.
There’s even a Dry January and Dry July. I just read about something called “OctSober.”
We play games all the time. In my view, life itself is a game. Just make this another game. Set the rules, set the goals, then PLAY.
If your friends don’t support you, put them on hold. If you need help, ask for it. If you fail, fail in the open.
No one is going to reach your goals for you. And there is an immense amount of pride and happiness waiting for you when you do it yourself.