Today’s blog post is a guest post from Chiin-Hooi Tan. She was inspired by The Habit Project team’s personal January challenges and has kindly shared her only story… giving up alcohol for 99 days in 2017.
Inspired by the call for change and the opportunities that arose from it, along with the appearance of motivational New-Year-Resolution social media posts, I decided start my own #99Days campaign of no alcohol, to understand the real implications of “habitual” drinking.
I am an age group triathlete who lives in Denmark. I studied in the UK, but I come from Malaysia (where drinking is not actually part of our culture). In my years in Europe, social events have evolved into, more often than not, “let’s go out for a beer”. My social media feed is full of people “looking forward to a glass (or 2) of wine” e.g. on a Friday, after a hard day, after a race, just because, etc. so that must be the norm, right?
Wine on the beach, anyone?
In retrospect, I would call myself a “bad habit” drinker. I never really questioned it… Do I need to drink wine with my meals? How does this affect my training and racing? How does this affect the rest of my life, i.e. work and home? Why is beer necessary in order to socialize? Do I even like beer and wine??? All good questions I never asked myself, mostly because I never believed that it had any effect on my life. I have a good job, I race well, I run a household. Surely that is good enough?
But today, I am exploring the question of, What If, it could be better? What If, I was wrong about my bad habit having no effect on my life? What If, I could run a sub 3 marathon? What If, I could do new things with new found time not “tainted” by that glass(es) of wine? What If?
Here are some early observations:
- I have a clear head all through the evening, which means I have actually had the time to a) take up Danish lessons again and b) write a bit more!
- I feel less tired during the day, and have taken on a marathon focused training program which includes double run days (previously a challenge for me). For the record, I am doing the Paris Marathon on the 9th of April, which explains the 99 days.
- Bad habits die hard, and I keep thinking “Oh I would like a glass of wine with my dinner”, followed closely by “No, that is not part of the plan, damn” and “Ninety+ days to go, eek!”
- I worry about not being able to sleep because I have not “relaxed with a glass of wine”. So I go to bed later, which adds to the first point above, but is pretty ok, as per point two above. But I worry nonetheless.
So have I answered my own questions in these first few days in January days? Perhaps to some extent, but I think time needs to run its course for me to see the true effect of alcohol (or the lack of it). So here’s 89 days to go, watch this space!