Follow These Easy Steps to make This Years's Dry January Effortless.
Dry January is becoming an increasingly popular new year resolution. By being alcohol-free for a month, many are looking to reap the health benefits of abstinence.
Studies have shown that even a slight reduction of alcohol intake can improve health and general wellbeing.
However, it tends to be easier said than done. Most don't last more than two weeks on average.
What is Dry January?
Dry January is a health trend where millions of people take a month-long break from any alcohol consumption.
It began in 2013 by the Alcohol Concern organisation from the UK, with the aim of helping people rethink "their relationship with alcohol".
There are numerous benefits to abstaining for a month, these include:
- Weight Loss
- Improved Immune System
- Better Sleep
- Healthier Skin
And many more... Learn more about the benefits of Dry January here: Here Is What Happens To Your Body When You Limit Your Drinking, And You'd Be Suprised.
However, most don't last more than two weeks. To make sure you reap the health benefits, follow these easy steps below and your Dry January will be effortless.
Step 1: Identify the Why.
"He who has a why can bear almost any how." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
If you want to make sure this is not just another failed new year resolution, which is highly common, you need to have a 'Why'.
Ask yourself: "Why am I doing Dry January?". Write it down, physically. Ideally post it somewhere as a visual reminder.
It is very important to clearly identify your purpose behind doing it. Otherwise, when times get tough or when friends come calling, you less likely to make it.
Step 2: Align with Existing Goals.
Many overlook the power of association, it is perhaps one of the most effective methods of creating habits that stick - just ask Pavlov and his Dogs.
This can be made especially easy in 2021, as it is likely that you've already built up some new habits and goals during Lockdown. Align your 'why' with other general goals you have.
Say for example, you've committed to becoming healthy - Dry January is then a very natural extension from that. Or you've set a new resolution this year to be productive, then you can associate the benefit of clear thought and no hangovers to this existing goal.
If you don't have some existing goals, don't worry. Try to align Dry January to something that you're already doing on auto-pilot and find a way for limiting drinking to fit in there.
Step 3: Anticipate Urges.
If you're heading to a zoom party with friends (the most fun you can have nowadays) or going to your 'support bubble' for dinner, social situations are one of the most likely places for your brain to cue "I need a drink".
Plan ahead. Know what to say when friends ask you why you're not drinking or when they encourage you to "just have one".
Think of urges like a wave; once you ride the peaks out, it'll eventually break. If you don't act on it, it will go away.
Sometimes, a quick change of scene will also help. Walk outside, take a deep breath. Or if you're on zoom, turn off the camera for a bit and get some alone time.
Step 4: Have Alternatives Ready.
"If you're using alcohol as a coping mechanism or a way of relaxing, maybe try some other way of doing that." says George Kobb, PhD, director of the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism)
When you're not in social situations, one of the best solution is Exercise. If you've already aligned your goals of Dry January with some other fitness related resolution, that's even easier.
However, if you're having a zoom social session, a quiet night in or if it's just not a right time for exercise, there are plenty of alcohol-free alternatives on the market.
If you're a fan of beer, there's been quite a few alcohol-free only review pages around. I've found one just for alcohol-free beer: Non-Alcoholics Reviewed.
Step 5: Don't Be a Perfectionist.
You've set your goals and identify your 'Why", told your friends about it and have written it down on a post-it in your room. But it's now a week into January and with Lock-down 'depression' kicking in, you poured yourself a drink.
Don't worry, you didn't blow it. If you force yourself into an 'all or nothing' approach when you're not ready, it will backfire.
Remember your 'Why'. If your purpose is to improve health, one drink is not going to completely ruin your plans. Of course being able to stick to complete abstinence is great, but you shouldn't kick yourself for giving into temptation.
The most important thing is being able to bounce back.
90% Dry January is better than thinking: "I already blew it, might as well have a few more.".
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