Photo: Eric Molina / Creative CommonsIt's possible that drinking just a little too much has become an epidemic in this country, moms included. Mothers are expected, at least by the media, to be perfect creatures: thin and beautiful, even-tempered and ambitious. This impossible set of standards combined with the pressure of motherhood makes a lot of mothers want to numb out and relax in the evenings with mommy's little helper, a glass of wine. And there's nothing wrong with that!
I used to love my nightly glass, but over time, I hated that it disrupted my sleep and my motivation. As I entered the world of entrepreneurship, firing on all cylinders sounded more attractive than numbing out, and so I decided to take a year-long sabbatical from alcohol.
Read More: Want to Cut Back or Stop Drinking Alcohol? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
In taking some time away from wine, I've learned that these five confidence boosters can help make it a lot easier to break free from any habit, including the habit of having a glass of wine each evening.
1. Value your own opinion.
Many of us get caught up in wondering how we're doing based on what others think. When we organize our lives around the opinions of other people, we get locked into choices that don't reflect our true preferences - from the little things like our choice of clothing, to big decisions like career or lifestyle. This can make our lives feel like we're living inside a straitjacket, and what better way to escape than via an evening cocktail.
Those with high self-confidence know that it's your own opinion of yourself that counts the most. To develop self-confidence, we need to tune into ourselves to figure out what we need to feel happy with our lives, regardless of other peoples' opinions.
Nothing makes people happier than learning how to be themselves and love themselves no matter what anyone else thinks; when we feel happy and free, we're less likely to want to numb out with a glass of wine.
2. Avoid judging other people negatively.
I've noticed something interesting: Those with high self-confidence do their best to avoid judging other people negatively. It's those with low self-confidence that spend time focusing on the flaws of other people. Those with low self-confidence are also prone to examining their own flaws, comparing themselves to others, and trying to find things wrong with other people so they can win some imaginary competition. We all judge from time-to-time; it's just what people do!
The key is to catch yourself when you fall into making judgments, and to strive to judge less.
To gain more self-confidence, focus on your positive attributes and the positive qualities of other people. When you start appreciating how wonderful people are, it's much easier to be accepting of yourself as well. When you're accepting of yourself, you feel great naturally, and you'll be much less likely to want to alter your feelings with alcohol.
3. Ignore the media.
The media gives us a double-whammy: a narrow definition of beauty, and the message that a woman's worth is in her looks (and that a man's worth is in his paycheck). These messages are as sad as they are ludicrous. The media creates a game that women can't win; no matter how many beauty products we buy or diets we go on, we'll all get old and wrinkled at some point! That certainly doesn't make us worthless, just human.
Read More: 5 Shocking Lessons I Learned in Two Months Without Booze
When we're not aware of these messages, we get caught up in comparing ourselves to these impossible standards and it injures our self-confidence. When we choose to believe that we, and others, are beautiful even though we don't fit the mold, we give ourselves the chance to boost our confidence.
When we feel worthy and beautiful exactly as we are, we feel happier, and once again, when we feel happy, we're less likely to numb our feelings.
4. Do activities you love.
Sometimes the activities that we love to do - the ones that would make us feel free and joyful - don't look that "cool", frankly. Maybe nothing makes you happier than a game of kickball. Or maybe you love dancing, but you weren't gifted with a dancer's body or coordination.
Part of making ourselves happy and confident is discovering and doing activities we love, without caring how we look or what others think. Activities or hobbies that get us into flow and make the world drop away when we're engaged in them can help restore our feelings of worth and purpose.
When we feel worthy and purposeful, then we sure as heck don't want to numb those feelings daily at sundown with a nightcap.
5. Say kind things to yourself.
How you talk to yourself and how you feel about yourself is everything in life - it creates your life, your moment-to-moment. Every experience you have and every thought you have is influenced by how you feel about yourself and how you talk to yourself.
Many of us have a critical inner voice that drones on all day about how we could be doing better. We could be neater, we could cook more, we could be better at saving money, we could eat better, yadda yadda yadda. The danger is that most of us aren't even aware of the criticisms that we heap on ourselves day in and day out; instead we simply endure it. Who wouldn't want to escape that?
When you decide that you're worthy of your own praise because you're a human being who is imperfect yet worthy of unconditional love, it's so much easier to go about your day feeling easy, and free and happy. Yes, you might have shortcomings. And of course it's okay to work on them. But it's critically important to your happiness and your daily experience that you think highly of yourself and treat yourself kindly.
When we're kind to ourselves, we feel happier, and I'm sure you could say it with me at this point: you are less likely to numb your feelings with alcohol.
Katie Morton is the founder of The Monarch Company. Get a FREE copy of her eBook, 10 Steps to a Blissful You, to get started on developing extraordinary willpower for life.
Top Articles on Drinking
Want to Cut Back or Stop Drinking Alcohol? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself
5 Shocking Lessons I Learned in Two Months Without Booze
5 Inspiring Lessons I Learned in My Third Alcohol-Free Month