Day 27 – Confidence and Strengths

Zoe_SmithMotivation and confidence are two key factors that relate to successful behaviour change – whether that’s stopping or cutting down on alcohol, quitting smoking, eating more nutritiously (I hate the word ‘diet’), taking up exercise etc.  

We have already spoken about motivation, so today’s post is about confidence, and how you can find yours as you look towards your post-Sober Sprint / MOB alcohol goals.

Self-Efficacy

Rather than generally being a ‘confident person’, in terms of the Sober Sprint / MOB and your post-Sober Sprint / MOB goals, we are interested in how confident you are specifically about your ability to stay stopped, or to cut down how much you drink, long-term.

This type of confidence about a specific behaviour is often called self-efficacy. The stronger our self-efficacy, the more likely we are to start and stick at change.

You will have stronger self-efficacy about your alcohol goals post-Sober Sprint / MOB (whether you want to stay stopped, or cut down) if:

You believe that you have control over your intention to cut down or stop drinking.

As far as this one goes, you know you managed the Sober Sprint / MOB, whether 100% alcohol free, or pretty close to 100%. This shows that you do have control over your drinking and you were able to change your daily habits and routines for an entire month. Not only should you feel incredibly proud about this, but it should boost your confidence that you can do it longer-term (assuming the motivation to do so is there!)

You believe that you will be able to make the right decisions and have control over alcohol regardless of the circumstances or situation.

You will have made several changes during your Sober Sprint / MOB that have helped you to have a successful month off despite various possible pitfalls. You might decide that some of these changes are going to become permanent ones, whilst others are not sustainable or practical 52 weeks a year.

For instance, you might have decided to avoid all events and places where alcohol is sold or consumed during your Sober Sprint / MOB, and created a daily routine that was quite different from the one you want to, or can, sustain over the long-haul. Eventually you will probably need to face some parties and events again, and get back to a routine that has space for everything that is important or necessary for you to do.  

But as life settles down and there will be new future situations you can’t predict or avoid, you need to believe that it is still possible for you to resist temptation, urges, and cravings – by using strategies to avoid, control, or escape situations, sit with your emotions, and reward and soothe yourself in healthier ways. You can still use the daily ritual (or maybe switch down to a weekly ritual on Sunday nights) to review what’s coming up, spot high-risk situations and possible pitfalls, and plan your coping strategies.

It is likely that you will find a ‘new normal’ where some things go back to how they were pre-Sober Sprint / MOB (e.g., you start attending parties and events again), some things change a bit (e.g., you try to do something relaxing, like yoga, at least once a week), and some things change completely (e.g., there’s one person you just don’t want to see any more, you will always do your grocery shop online).

You believe that the change you are making is effective and worthwhile.

There’s no point changing your behaviour if you don’t believe any good will come of it, it won’t change anything, or it’s not important enough for you to do. In October 2015, we collected some questions from MOBbers and our answers to a special Q&A post. We hoped it would help people think about what will motivate them to continue their good work post-Sober Sprint / MOB. And the positive changes that have occurred during the Sober Sprint / MOB also show you, we hope, that it is worthwhile.

Your Personal Strengths

It’s important that we don’t just focus on what we perceive as our flaws or weaknesses. When we acknowledge our strengths we can begin to look at how they can help us achieve our goals, including our goals around alcohol. This will also build our self-confidence.  

Do an audit of your personal strengths, especially those that have helped you to have a successful Sober Sprint / MOB. We all bring something to the party. Someone who is cautious probably has a really good handle on all their possible pitfalls and won’t take risks during their Sober Sprint / MOB. Someone who likes lists and organisation is going to be good at planning what to drink instead, arranging their day and booking non-alcohol activities in their diary.

This isn’t exhaustive, but see if you can find any of your strengths in this list:

Accurate

Action oriented

Adventurous

Ambitious

Analytical

Appreciative

Artistic

Athletic

Authentic

Brave

Caring

Cautious

Compassionate

Charming

Communicative

Confident

Considerate

Courageous

Creative

Critical thinking

Curiosity

Dedicated

Determined

Disciplined

Empathetic

Energetic

Entertaining

Enthusiastic

Fairness

Flexible

Focused

Forgiving

Friendly

Generous

Grateful

Helpful

Honest

Hopeful

Humility

Humorous

Idealistic

Independent

Ingenious

Industrious

Inspiring

Integrity

Intelligent

Kind

Knowledgeable

Leadership

Lively

Logical

Loving

Lifelong learner

Modes

Motivated

Observant

Optimistic

Open-minded

Originality

Organised

Outgoing

Patient

Perseverance

Persuasive

Persistent

Planner

Practical

Precise

Problem solving

Prudence

Respectful

Responsible

Self-assured

Serious

Self-controlled

Spontaneous

Social skills

Straightforward

Strategic thinker

Tactful

Team-oriented

Thoughtful

Thrifty

Tolerant

Trustworthy

Versatile

Warm

Willpower

Wisdom

In bold are the ones I personally think are my Top 5 strengths.

  • Curiosity has helped me during my Sober Sprint, and previously when I realised I needed to substantially reduce how much I was drinking, because it helps me keep an open mind to different experiences and the advice of other people. It is also a more helpful attitude to take towards the unknown, rather than fear or anxiety.
  • Being a lifelong learner helps me make changes in many areas of my life. I am a sponge for ideas, books, workshops, seminars, I can speed read too, so that helps.
  • Independence helps me take care of and be responsible for myself. I like my own company (in fact I think I need quite a lot of it) and therefore I don’t experience any loss or FOMO when I decide I need to go out less, relax more, and take a booze break.
  • Despite being a procrastinator extraordinaire when it comes to some tasks, I can focus on goals that are important to me – such as a Sober Sprint, or a part-time Masters Degree. This relates to my independence because I don’t begrudge the fact that I might miss out on some things, whilst I focus on the main goal.
  • I don’t think I would have become a psychologist if I didn’t like helping people. And if I didn’t want to help people I wouldn’t have developed the MOB programme with Club Soda. By helping other people I am also helping myself, so I see this as a virtuous circle!

This video has more talk about strengths.

Your actions for today

  • Think about your own personal strengths: you can use the list above, or come up with your own words! How might your strengths help you reach and stick to your goals, both for drinking and other aspects of your life?

Coming up

Tomorrow, we move from strengths to values.

2 Responses to “Day 27 – Confidence and Strengths

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Enjoying the MOB, actually just on Day 12 now as I restarted after a night out where I drank moderately. The daily e-mails are good reminders and motivation.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    I am glad you are enjoying the materials and daily emails – and great to be on Day 12! Well done. I hope that you are starting to feel the benefits?

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