Over the Christmas and new year period, many have found themselves drinking more than usual. So why not join thousands this month in cutting out alcohol for a healthier 2023, by taking part in Dry January? We’re sharing a few tips to help you make your month without alcohol an enjoyable and successful one.
Don’t forget why you’d like to do Dry January, remind yourself of your motivations. Try making a list of all the things you hope to gain, then rank them in order of importance. Look at your list regularly, especially when it gets tough and focus on what you want to achieve. You could hang the list somewhere visible as a reminder throughout the month.
Although keeping Dry January to yourself can be tempting, especially if you’re worried you won’t make it through the month, telling others can be a good way to keep you on track. If you’re going out, let your people know in advance that you’re not drinking. You may find that many others are doing Dry January too.
Doing Dry January with a friend can make a big difference. You can encourage each other and have someone to turn to if it gets tough. Feeling inspired by what others are achieving and not wanting to let others down are great ways to stay committed.
When alcohol is offered to you
During the month you may be invited somewhere where alcohol will be offered to you, so you need to be prepared. Whether it’s drinking alcohol-free alternatives, suggesting everyone buys their own drinks or even practising saying no, making a plan on what you’re going to do beforehand can really help.
You don’t need to justify your choice for taking part in Dry January, but if someone gets pushy and insists you have a drink, perhaps “I’m doing Dry January” won’t always be your go-to reason. “I’m driving/looking after my mental health/looking after the kids in the morning?” may be a better answer. If you stay firm and have an answer prepared, people are less likely to try to convince you to change your mind and join them for a drink.
Plan exciting activities
Planning some fun things to do in January can be a positive ‘pick-me-up’. Where not drinking will save you money, you could use some of it to treat yourself to some exciting activities with friends or family. Trying a new restaurant or attending a class, even a day trip somewhere. Showing yourself that you don’t need alcohol to have fun will be a great motivator moving forward.
When you slip-up
Being prepared for a slip-up may be a good idea. If you do have a drink, it doesn’t need to be the end of the world and better yet, it doesn’t need to be the end of your Dry January. Keep a positive mindset and don’t beat yourself up about it. Consider why it happened. Is there something you can do next time to stop a slip-up? If the same situation comes up again, you may be better prepared.
Keeping a diary
Try keeping a diary of your Dry January experience. What’s different? What’s better? You can look back at previous notes and see how far you’ve come. Making time each day, even a couple of minutes, to remind yourself of your Dry January journey. It could help you to see it through to the end. You could even blog about your Dry January experience to inspire others.
Ask for help
You might find that Dry January is harder than you expected and that’s ok. You could try having a ‘Drier January’ instead, and set some goals.
If you are finding it tough, you don’t need to battle through miserably. Try talking to someone – a friend or family member, or even a local alcohol service. Find support here.