My ONE Thing for 2018 is to consume zero alcohol.  This ONE Thing was the result of asking myself a focusing question for the year.  The answer to this question is essentially a yearly vision statement.  So, when I asked myself the focusing question, “What is the ONE Thing I can do this year such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”  The answer?  Cut out alcohol, period.  I know that if I am successful with this goal, all the others will fall into place.

The One Thing – My Top Goal for 2018

For those of you who have read the book The One Thing, you get it.  For those of you who have not, well, its pretty simple.  The big idea?  There is always, at any given point in the day, week, month year, only one thing that is the highest priority.  This ONE Thing is the thing you should always be doing.  Its the Vilfredo Pareto rule of just a few things (in this case one) that yield much of the benefit.  Through years of self evaluation it became clear that The One Thing for me was the removal of alcohol from my life.  2018 became the perfect year to implement it.  And, it just might be your year to implement it too.

Happiness & Brain Chemistry

My overarching life goal is to be happy.  Isn’t it all of ours?  The problem is that alcohol is often used to MAKE us happy, reduce anxiety and to just relax.  And, chemically speaking, it does (sorta’)!  Alcohol consumption increases the release of dopamine and affects (primarily) the “feel good” center of the brain.  Thats were the good news ends.  The bad news is that the amount of dopamine that gets produced each time you consume alcohol, DROPS.  So, less and less of that good feeling dopamine.  What more bad news?  What is even more troubling is the other things that happen in your brain at the same time.  What is being masked by dopamine are the feelings of the “depressant” side of alcohol.  You know what is left after using alcohol for long periods of time?  Way less dopamine, way more depressants.  Great.  But, by now, you’re hooked. The long term affects of even moderate alcohol consumption can lead to increased anxiety, increased stress and generally being UN-happy.  Knowing a bit about alcohol’s affects on our brain chemistry helps us understand why.  So, {Alcohol Consumption + ME} ≠ HAPPINESS.  Roger that.

The Result

Although I was not a heavy drinker I did drink several time a week to “relax my mind”.  And, often times I drank 2-3 glasses of wine to do just that.  I’m now at the 60 day mark of zero alcohol consumption and I’ve never felt better.  Here are a few notes.
  • Physically – I am in incredible shape.  It turns out that I don’t eat nearly as much crappy food when I don’t drink!  Not to mention the needless empty calories from alcohol and carbohydrates (the stuff in booze).  This in turn makes me feel better and less “fat”.  Which in turn gives me the energy to go to the gym, which makes me feel good.  Which in turn … (you get the point).  It’s converting the vicious damaging cycle into a positive helpful cycle.  I also sleep WAY better and sleep WAY less.  Leaving me feeling better with more time to crush the days.
  • Emotionally – I have never been so emotionally stable in my life.  Now, don’t mind the outburst I had last Sunday, kids are still kids.  I’m not perfect!  Generally however, I have my emotions under control and I feel fantastic.  And, my wife and I bicker a lot less.
If all of this isn’t enough, just ask my wife about the change (not just the bickering).  I am guessing she has more than a few words on the subject. Good luck with your goal setting and when you figure out what your ONE Thing is, tackle it!  If you can conquer that ONE Thing that makes everything else either easier or unnecessary, you’ve done well.  Actually, you’ve done great.