Dry January is back again, and you’ve decided to hedge your bets at going alcohol-free for the month. It might all seem like fairies and rainbows to start with, but when you’re a week in, it can be easy to slip into old habits.
With millions of people taking part throughout January, avoiding a night of drinking is getting more and more common.
Here are our 7 top tips on how to cope with Dry January, so you can make it to the other side...
Have a backup
The easiest way to replace a habit is to form a new one, so don’t think you’ll manage the 30-day challenge drinking water. Have some alcohol-free beer, drink some Shloer or just stick to the coke. Having a go-to drink when someone asks for your order will keep you on the straight and narrow, and you'll avoid any slip-ups.
Do it with a friend
Accountability forces you to follow through. If you have a pal to do the challenge with, then you’re more likely to succeed. If your best mate isn’t drinking, you won’t want to let them down (plus you’ll have someone to moan to when it gets tough).
Get a countdown
Dry January has its own app so you can track your drinking (or not drinking). Pairing this with a countdown ‘til the end of January can make it easier to stick to, and you’ll know how long you have left. The snowball effect of knowing how long you’ve gone for is a great motivator to keeping on track.
Avoid tempting situations
If you know that you just HAVE to have a drink at the pub quiz on a Sunday, then don’t go. If you NEED a drink at the student night on Wednesday, then avoid it this time. Make the most of avoiding the tough times by making memories with a friend instead, like going out to eat or having a movie night in. If you avoid the situations that you KNOW will trigger you, then you’re one step closer to the end.
Surround yourself with support
If your friends are simply going to take the mick out of you, then have a conversation with them early on so they know why you’ve decided to go alcohol-free for the month. Avoid going on a night out with friends who are going to keep offering you drink after drink (or just offer to pay them if they help to keep you sober…).
Remember why you started
As the days go by, it gets harder and harder to remember why you started. Whether it's to save money, improve your relationship with alcohol or spend more time with friends or family, everyone has a reason why they started. Write down some goals for the month somewhere obvious, so you’re constantly reminded why you’ve decided not to have a drink. Refresh your memory whenever you’re contemplating a bev.
Make the most of it
Do things you’d never normally do. Try a new sport or hobby. Visit somewhere new. Cherish the lack of hangovers. Appreciate how great you feel on a Sunday morning... Don’t spend the month wishing for it to end, and make the most of the health benefits of avoiding alcohol for a month.