Fancy a sherry? What about a cheeky glass of fizz? Or a white wine? Or red wine? Or both? Yup, it’s easy to overindulge over the Christmas period, isn’t it? It seems as if everything revolves around toasting this or saying cheers to that. So when January 1st rolls round, it’s no surprise so many of us hold up our hands and say enough is enough. But taking that leap to commit to a dry January isn’t easy. As we’re nearly halfway through January, let us give you some mid-month encouragement.
1. Know your reasons Ask why you have stopped drinking alcohol? Could there be another reason that could spur you on? Something relevant to you? For example, you could say ‘I want to wake up early every day and take the dog for a walk’. To do that, you need to stop drinking heavily the night before. Or ‘I need more energy for work’. Again, cutting down on the booze can make this happen. Having a more beneficial reason for stopping drinking makes it a more positive experience rather than going cold turkey for the sake of it.
2. Track your progress Make a note of the differences not drinking is making. Are you feeling more alert? Less tired? Is your complexion looking better? Are you saving money by not going to the pub? Being aware of these little improvements to your mind and body are great ways of keeping up your commitment. Maybe keep a journal so you can vent your frustrations or express your accomplishment privately.
3. Tell your friends How many of you have told your friends and family you’re going dry this month? If you haven’t, try it. By announcing it to loved ones you’re more likely to stick to the plan. And don’t forget, it’s not too late to get other people to join in too. Having a few of you going through the same thing is fantastic for support.
4. Treat yourself Thirty-one days is a loooooonnng time. Set yourself regular goals and reward yourself for meeting them. Reached 10 days? Buy yourself that new coat you’ve had your eye on. Smashed 15 days? Treat yourself to a trip to the movies. Managed to go to a birthday bash and not have a drink? Splash out on that new phone. This way you won’t regard not drinking as a punishment.
5. Plan for urges
Of course, there will be times when you really, really, really, really want a beer or glass of wine. That’s completely natural. The trick is being prepared for those trigger moments, and have some ideas about how to deal with them. Find a go-to soft drink you can immediately order in tough times, like a mocktail. It’s often the hesitation that makes us crumble. Offering to drive to social occasions is another way to avoid these triggers. It forces you to keep bright eyed and bushy tailed, plus you’ll feel great the next morning. Win/win. Remember, so much of drinking alcohol is based on habits. It's Friday evening so it must be beer o’ clock, that kind of thing. Think about breaking the routine. Go for a run just before ‘beer time’, for example. By the time you get home the urge would probably have passed.
You’re doing great. And even if you’ve fallen off the wagon a couple of times, we’re sure you’re drinking a lot less than last month! So well done.