How many times have you said to yourself, "I'm never going to (fill in the blanks with your vice)," only to beat yourself up when you ended up (drinking, smoking, eating ice cream) twice as much as you did before? When it comes to lifestyle changes, an all-or-nothing mentality can be damaging and counterproductive.
Given the statistics in Scotland -- with Scots drinking more than people in any other part of the UK, and official estimates suggesting that one in every 30 deaths among women is alcohol-related -- it would be easy for the government to resort to this all-or-nothing mentality with scaremongering or calls for bans on the sale of liquor.
Instead, the government is taking a realistic approach, launching a campaign -- targeting women from 31 to 50 -- that aims to change attitudes rather than regulate behavior. Their new site, Drink Smarter, offers workable tips for women who want to become more conscious of their drinking, and is a great model for any woman who wants to modify her drinking habits, no matter where she lives in the world.
Here are some of the site's great features:
1) Links to a Facebook page that includes Mocktail recipes.
2) A "Drop a glass size in 2012" feature, which explains how simply changing the size of your wine glass can make a huge difference in how much you drink. The same amount of wine that looks so meager in a fishbowl-sized glass looks like a lavish pour in a small glass.
3) A "Drinking time machine" app. Download a photo of yourself, and the app will show you exactly how drinking will age you.
4) A section on relationships that addresses home life, work life and social life.
Rather than only focusing on what women are doing wrong, the new campaign emphasizes the small changes that women can make to improve their health and well-being. That's something we can all cheer about.
Leah Odze Epstein is a writer and co-founder of the Drinking Diaries. She is currently working on a young adult novel about a character who is the daughter of an alcoholic. She has reviewed books for BookPage and Publisher's Weekly, among other publications. She also writes poetry, and her poems can be found on the website Literary Mama.