Could alcohol be holding you back achieving your dreams? Ali Roff shares how she created a life less ordinary by ditching the booze and cultivating real self-belief…

I’ve never been that person who is the life and soul of the party – you’re more likely to find me in the corner having a deep-and-meaningful with a good friend than having a dance off using a piece of toilet roll for a feather boa. And for the longest time this bothered me. On nights out, surrounded by friends with big personalities, I used alcohol as a plaster to cover up my low self-esteem. It gave me the self-belief I was lacking. And I’m not alone – studies have found that those of us with lower self-esteem drink more than people with high self-esteem in social settings, especially when we feel social pressures to belong.

The thing was, as long as I had alcohol to provide this confidence, I never had to cultivate it for myself. But what of the bigger goals we have in life? If I had to fake self-esteem using alcohol with my own friends, how would I ever go after my moon-shot dreams – writing a book, becoming a yoga teacher, being my own boss?

Getting out of my own way

Our successes in life change how we see ourselves; and so it stands to reason that by achieving things we are proud of, we build our self-esteem. So, could that be the answer to ditching alcohol as a crutch for our self-confidence? Quite possibly; a recent study found that people with low self-esteem who had received a recent success drank less than those with low self-esteem who had received a failure.

So instead of using alcohol to plaster over my lack of self-belief, I vowed to cultivate it organically by investing in the things that moved me towards my goals. Instead of saying yes to Friday nights out, I started saying yes to Friday night yoga workshops. Sleeping in on a Sunday gave way to brunch dates with friends who inspired me, days out hiking and even meditation courses. Inspired by my new activities, my creativity surged and I had more energy, time, clarity and money. Giving up my nights out opened up space in my life to start making my dreams a reality; the biggest of which was to take a month off of work to go and study yoga – the start of a new career teaching and writing about yogic philosophy.

Moving mountains

After a month of yoga, self-study, and throwing myself way outside of my comfort zone, I qualified as a yoga teacher. On returning home, I realised how far I had come. Friends threw me a mini welcome home party, and I was handed a glass of wine.  I didn’t realise until a few hours later that my glass sat on the table, mostly full – I hadn’t drunk it, I didn’t ‘need’ to. Self-commitment breeds self-esteem because we begin to see true, lasting change in our lives. In committing to my own growth, I had cultivated not only self-belief, but self-worth. I had ripped off the plaster.

Three steps to living a life less ordinary

  • Get out of your own way: What’s the biggest thing getting in the way of you working towards your goals in life? And how can you remove this obstacle?
  • Commit to yourself: How can you show yourself you are committed to ‘living bigger’?
  • Cultivate something to be proud of: What can you do today to take a first small step towards your dream?

Could you cultivate some real self-confidence by committing to the short 28-day challenge? Switch booze for self-belief and see what you can achieve in your life. Click here to make real change today.

By Ali Roff
Ali is Editor-at Large at Psychologies magazine

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