A Challenge: The Reverse New Year's Resolution

Ok. This one is going to seem CRAZY. Legitimately you are going to think I am off my rocker and headed right to the insane asylum.

This is scary actually and is indicative of some really huge issues with our culture. More on that later. For now let us discuss what a reverse New Years Resolution is.

I am issuing you a challenge beginning now. Not tomorrow, or on Monday, or any other time in the future. The challenge starts now. Instead of waiting for the New Year to start another resolution that you won’t follow, again, I am going to help you change your life. Literally.

If you do this, you will change your life.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Finish this entire article! You are going to want to close this page as soon as I issue my challenge, which is a huge part of the problem! But hear me out! Read to the end!! THEN you can make your decision.

What is the challenge?

Starting now until January 2nd (yeah, so 12pm on New Years it isn’t over…nice try)…..

Do not drink or consume any alcohol.

None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.


But it’s Christmas! It’s the holidays? What about New Year’s Eve?


Shhhhhh. It’s ok. I know. I know you are going to suffer some trauma here. This will be so challenging. Your life as you know it won’t be complete. No one will like you. You won’t be any fun. You’ll have to deal with your inlaws. Your children will annoy you more than they ever have in the past. You might go postal and be forced to murder someone because you can’t escape with that beautiful glass of merlot.

You’re crying now. I understand. You are a part of our societal collective addiction.

What is that?

As a culture we are addicted to a drug. Here, this is what an addiction is:

All the time when I mention this challenge people freak out. I hear the ‘I CAN’T’ mantra all the time. Well guess what? Alcohol is a drug that does us harm and people have an inability to stop partaking in it. How is this not an addiction?

Oh wait, you NEED it…to relax, to unwind, to be able to spend quality time with your significant other…ummmmm. No. You don’t NEED it. You might WANT it, you might LIKE it, but physiologically you do not NEED it.

Whether it is a physiological addition or a behavioural addiction is irrelevant. If it is something you cannot stop or refrain from it is an addiction.

The facts are that alcohol is a very damaging drug with a litany of horrifically harmful physiological effects. Sorry, but there is no health benefit to alcohol. Yes, you are going to come at me with the ‘glass of wine is good for you’ mantra touted by so many to justify their consumption but the facts are it is not. The polyphenol, reservatol, that is found in red wine ISN’T FROM THE WINE. It is found in grapes, peanuts, and mulberries and all sorts of other plants. Eating those foods gives you the actual health benefit without the negative health side effects of alcohol. Most studies purporting the benefits of alcohol consumption are observational studies demonstrating correlation and not causation.

As a culture we don’t want to believe the fact that alcohol is really, really, fucking bad for us because then our little bubbles of happiness might be popped.

This is even scarier when we look at the thoughts of purported ‘health professionals.’ I was sent this from one of my online followers recently. The Spartan race organization issued a challenge: for 30 days, no sweets, no processed foods, 8 cups of water daily, and 45 min of exercise daily. Then this ‘health expert’ responded by saying they will not support, ‘your ridiculous and unnecessary nutrition challenge. Promoting disordered eating, especially in athletic women is disgusting.’

That’s right…avoiding processed foods and candy, drinking water, and adding in exercise is now being called disordered eating. What the hell would this poor precious snowflake of a sport nutritionist think of my no alcohol challenge? OMG I am probably about to destroy the lives of so many people….

Now let me say something…

I DO NOT CARE if you choose to drink or not. I really truly don’t care. You do you, I will do me, Sally can do Sally, and Sam can do Sam. What you choose to ingest isn’t my business and doesn’t affect my life.

I am simply issuing you a challenge that goes far beyond the simple cessation of ingesting poison.

If you want to take control of your health and make positive lifestyle changes you are going to have to do some difficult things. Some hard things. A great book by Ben Horowitz sums it up perfectly in just the tittle: The Hard Thing About Hard Things. The books basic premise? Hard things are hard. Duh.

To truly change your habits and your health, to truly become psychologically stronger and more resilient you have to do some hard things, you have to make some difficult decisions, you have to make some sacrifice.

You will NEVER make any long term lasting changes little bit by little bit or without enduring some hardship and making some sacrifices. It is overcoming these obstacles that truly make an impact in our lives and truly elicit a change. Check our Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way.

That is the purpose of this challenge

To do something hard, something difficult, something that will hurt a little, that you have to overcome.

This is WHAT a CHALLENGE is.

If it was easy it wouldn’t be a challenge! Doing major things in January is fucking easy. Everyone does it. Part of the reason why it NEVER works. January isn’t hard. Not drinking any alcohol for the entire holiday season, now THAT is hard for most people.

But if you can do it, what couldn’t you do? If you can make this sacrifice during this time the rest of the year is easy. Seriously. Nothing else will be as difficult. You will have already established a major healthy habit BEFORE the New Years Resolution season begins.

You might be surprised to hear this but did you know that you can actually have fun and be social without drinking alcohol? You can visit with family and friends, you can play games, you can do outdoor activities, you can have meals, you can read ans share good books, you can have conversations, you can watch movies, you can go to a movie, you can laugh, cry, hug, kiss, have sex, cavort, smile, and a million other things ALL WITHOUT ALCOHOL.

This might surprise you. And this is a huge problem with out culture. So many times I hear, and even worse, so many times people truly believe, that you NEED alcohol. This is scary. This is addiction.

If you can’t enjoy your life without ingesting a drug there is something wrong. For some reason we have made this addiction completely acceptable as a culture. Even more scary we actually actively tease, torment, ridicule, curse, and lambaste people who DON’T drink booze. We ostracize them and turn them into outliers because they choose not to poison themselves.

That is some fucked up shit.

Again, I don’t actually care what you do. I am issuing this challenge because I want you to be in control of you and I want you to be healthier and happier. And in the long term this will have that effect.

Even if you restart your glass of wine a day habit in January this is still going to be hugely impactful on your life. You will know that you CAN make a sacrifice and overcome obstacle. And that is a very, very powerful feeling. It will give you the power and fortitude to make any decision.

I have currently not had any alcohol for over 11 months. I have been social, had dinner parties, been to some of the best restaurants in the world, and many other activities usually associated with alcohol. I have been through all the holidays, seasons, birthdays, anniversaries, and other events usually associated with alcohol. I have survived.

There is not a SINGLE instance looking retroactively that I think, ‘oh man, I really wish I had had a beer, or a glass of wine when I did that.’ Zero. None.

I promise, you will not hit January 2nd and think to yourself, ‘if I had just had a few glasses of wine that holiday season would have been SO much better.’ I promise.

You might just be proud of yourself for accomplishing something that no one else had the fortitude to do. You might FEEL good physically and emotionally. You might just be stronger and more capable to take charge of your life, to make the decisions and enact the habits that will lead to a healthier you.

I say you just might, I mean, you will.

-Coach Taylor

[NOTE: if you do toughen up and accept this challenge…message me! Join my facebook group and post about it!!! I would LOVE to be a part of your journey!!!]

  1. Karen Murray says:

    oh the joy, as a t total person, after serious psychotic break with alchoholism, for last 20 years past March 11th can tick this baby off!!

  2. Courtney says:

    Challenge accepted, but to be fair I’m over 2 years no alcohol! I never meant to quit it for good, but I don’t miss it at all (and neither does my wallet).
    I will sub the alcohol for caffeine 🙂

  3. J**** says:

    20 years ago I quit a 2 pack a day smoking habit. I’ve lost 60 lbs and at 62 am in the best shape of my life. I know about discipline and I am fully family with self-control; however, for those of us not dependent on alcohol, who simply enjoy it in real moderation (2-3 a week), this challenge is arbitrary and pointless. It is pleasurable, nothing more, and in those quantities at a party time of the year, utterly harmless. This challenge, for most of us, is meaningless self-denial.

    • Taylor says:

      No one is forcing anyone to do anything……arbitrary and pointless to you. Utterly harmless in small quantities? Well, technically so is arsenic….

      • J*** says:

        You pride yourself on your scientific knowledge. Please tell me specifically what harm 2-3 glasses a week during peak December consumption will do to me?
        Life and health should be about joy, not about pointless deprivation.

        • Taylor says:

          There are other ways to experience happiness and joy without alcohol. Again – I am not telling anyone not to drink alcohol. If you’re not interested in the challenge – don’t do it. Myself and many other people don’t feel deprived without alcohol. Do what you want!
          Now before you get all butt-hurt even worse….here is a large scale review study published in the Lancet (just one of many out there as we begin to adjust our thinking on alcohol). Give it a read!

  4. Annmarie says:

    I have been alcohol free for 3 years. I had 2 severe pancreatitis attacks within a year and a half and the doc at the hospital asked why i was still drinking after the 1st attack. I was not an alcoholic by any means but did enjoy wine. I told her no-one told me not to. She said I needed my gall bladder out which should help with the attacks but also to quit drinking. No problem. I just think about the incredible pain I was in during the attacks and have no problem not drinking. It was much easier than I thought it was going to be. However……other people have a hard time dealing with it. No one can just accept ” i don’t drink” . I never realized how uncomfortable people get when you are not drinking with them. I really have to plan ahead as to what I’m going to drink to make it look like I am drinking if we go out to any bars or parties. I cannot tell you how much better I feel over all and look better to be honest.
    Now I just have to work on my Bugles addiction…..:)

    • Taylor says:

      That is the thing that gets me too! How angry and weird other people get when you choose not to drink alcohol…like…I really don’t care if you do, so why do you care so much that I don’t??? Happy to hear you are feeling much better! Lol….bugles were a childhood fav of mine, an addiction I inherited from my grandma!

  5. Brian Filer says:

    IF you told me ten years ago I would stop drinking alcohol, beer specifically, I would have thought your were crazy! I decided in September 2011 to give it up and here I am eight years later…
    You are correct – I do not miss it one bit and looking back the money I spent on it over my life is embarrassing.

    • Taylor says:

      That’s another great point! The expense!!! Def save a ton of money not drinking wine daily which I can put towards all sorts of other great things! I also had a great debate about not having beer or wine and thought I would miss it a lot more than I do…..

  6. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for bringing up this issue!! I have seen countless health “experts” talk about how poor our food choices are (I mean, they are….), but no one is talking about how terrible alcohol is for us. It’s a completely acceptable addiction, yet it has no benefits.
    I have almost completely stopped drinking over the past couple years (except for one glass of something….like once every few months). I don’t miss it. I have exactly the same amount of fun without it. I wish my loved ones would take up this challenge and realize they, too, can have fun without it…and feel better!
    As a side note, I follow everything you say about the crap food choices….and yet I still can’t kick em! It’s so much broader than alcohol (to me). I would love a nutrition challenge for this season!

    • Taylor says:

      Read a book called: Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.
      After seeing what they do to processed food and how much we are manipulated….making healthier choices becomes a lot easier!

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