Day 1 – The Daily MOB Ritual

A quick Google of ‘daily rituals’ will bring up a whole host of blog posts and articles about the importance of daily rituals, particularly those of successful people – whether success for that person is about running a country, making money, building a business, being at the peak of fitness, harnessing creativity or another goal.

One thing many of these rituals have in common is that they carve out a special time and space to think about and commit to what it is important to achieve that day.

If we only have a vague or general idea about what we are hoping to get done, but don’t make some time to concretely think about doing it, and specifically plan how we are going to achieve our goals for that day, then our chances of success decrease.

This is especially true when what we are hoping to achieve (e.g. not drinking) is quite different from what normally happens when we automatically follow our desires, habits, or emotions (e.g. drinking).  

We would like you to start practicing a brief 5-step daily ritual for your MOB. This ritual is about planning your alcohol-free day and rehearsing your best intentions, rather than simply wishing or hoping to have an alcohol-free day.

Tweak it to make it work for you – without making it too complicated to do every day – but the basic elements are the same.

At an appropriate time of day – but definitely long before you would normally have your first drink or be thinking about drinking:

1. Commit to having one alcohol-free day today and visualise how great it will be.
Say it out loud if you can. “I commit to having an alcohol-free day today.”
“I prefer and I choose to have an alcohol-free day today.”
Visualise one thing that will be especially good about not drinking today – maybe getting a task finished at work, going to bed earlier, making it to the gym or just knowing you have achieved your goal and feeling proud of yourself.

2. Review the day ahead for times when you might be thinking about alcohol
The first twinge or thoughts about having a drink often happen several hours before the act of buying or having a drink.
– What time today would you usually be thinking about drinking? It might be as you are driving home from work, or at lunchtime when you pop out to pick something up for dinner, or whilst bathing the kids.
– Is something happening, or could something happen today, that might lead you to start thinking about drinking? For example a stressful encounter, a long meeting, or meeting a certain person?

3. Commit to replacing thoughts of alcohol with an alternative thought that supports your alcohol-free day. Rehearse using it.
If we consider that thoughts are merely suggestions, they are not orders, it makes it easier to acknowledge thoughts that arise without getting a mental struggle. Think of a positive or motivating statement (mantra) you can think to yourself, or even say out loud, if the thought of alcohol crops up.

Whatever positive thought you commit to, imagine and rehearse yourself using it now.
The more we rehearse in advance, the more automatically we will respond if it happens in reality.

4. Review the day ahead for possible pitfalls – times when you might be reminded of alcohol, be tempted to have a drink, or would usually drink – people, places, routes home, times of day, moods, emotions.  

5. Make a plan to do something different if that pitfall arises. Commit to the plan and rehearse yourself doing it.
There are so many possible ways you can avoid, control or escape situations that might interfere with your alcohol-free commitment. We will be covering these in more detail over the next couple of weeks.

An example of a simple plans could be to repeat your positive statement to yourself, make a phone call on the way home – so you are distracted as you pass the supermarket, trotting off a drink-refusal strategy or getting on the Club Soda community for support and motivation.
Say out loud or at least write down what the plan is as an if-then statement (IF X happens, then I will do Y).

IF…I am asked to go to the pub after work, THEN…I will tell them that I am taking a Month off Booze/I am on antibiotics/I have to collect someone from the airport.

Thoughts, feelings, moods, emotions, problems, people, places, things – can all present possible pitfalls to your MOB. We will be talking about possible pitfalls and coping strategies for them more over the next couple of weeks.

Your actions for today

  • Decide what time of day will be best for you to do your daily ritual. Commit to it.
  • Come up with at least 1 positive thought or one action you can replace thoughts of alcohol (or other self-sabotaging thoughts) with.
  • Visit the private Facebook group and introduce yourself if you haven’t already.


Reading recommendation

Rethinking Positive Thinking. We are often advised to ‘think positively’ about the changes we wish to make. A positive and optimistic attitude is great, but simply wishing or hoping for something is not the full story. This book shows us that it is important to not only think about the benefits of the goals we want to achieve, but also to be honest about what obstacles stand in the way of us achieving them. Only then can we make sensible plans and take action to overcome or deal differently with obstacles, and make real progress towards our goals. There’s also a great ritual in this book, based upon two decades of scientific research, called ‘Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan’ (WOOP!) that we think is really useful.

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