Planning to Participate in 'Dry January'? Follow These Tips for Success

Every year, more and more people decide to take the Dry January challenge. This movement involves cutting out alcohol for the entire month. Many individuals decide to take on this challenge as a way to get the new year off to a healthy start and to cleanse their bodies after the indulgences of the holidays.

While it is a worthy goal to go after, cutting out alcohol for the month is not always as easy as it sounds. You can set yourself up for the most success if you have a game plan heading into the new year. Here are six tips to help you to be successful in your Dry January endeavor.

Make it Public

You will be more likely to reach this goal if you make your intentions public. Rather than keeping this goal a secret and trying to do it on your own, be loud and proud about your plans to cut out alcohol for the month. The more that you broadcast your intentions, the more likely that you will be to hold yourself accountable. For example, by posting your plans on social media, it will be more difficult for you to give in to the temptation knowing that you will have to answer to everyone who was aware of your goal. A vocal public commitment makes it more likely that you will follow through, if only because you will not want to admit to others that you gave up.

Solicit Support

Soliciting the support of others is also a good way to stay on track. Perhaps you want to recruit a few family members or friends to join you in Dry January? This will be particularly helpful if they are the people that you normally drink with. By soliciting support, you can create a buddy system of accountability.

Avoid Triggers

Despite all of your best intentions, there will inevitably be temptations along the way. You can help to avoid these temptations by steering clear of the events that you know will be triggers. For example, if you generally participate in your work's Friday afternoon happy hour, you may want to consider asking around to see if any of your colleagues would rather head out for a hike instead. If a relaxing Sunday evening at home is what triggers you to reach for a bottle of wine, plan an activity that will reduce this temptation. Everyone has different triggers. Knowing yours and planning accordingly will help you to stay dry for the month.

Plan Alternatives

Dry January can be especially difficult for individuals with a social life that revolves around bar outings and other situations where drinking is the main event. In order to avoid these triggers, it is a good idea to plan alternative activities during the month of January. Think outside of the box to plan fun social outings that do not make alcohol the focus. Outdoor activities and other recreational outings are all good ideas if you want to avoid the temptation of booze. This is also a good opportunity to reconnect with past hobbies or passions.

Track Your Progress

Many people find it helpful to stay on the right path if they are tracking their progress. The act of simply crossing out each day that you make it through without an alcoholic drink can be a great motivator to keep going. Once you get to the halfway mark, the visual of being at this point will deliver the encouragement that you need to stay with your resolution.

Give Yourself Grace

If you do find yourself in the position that you indulged in a drink or two when you were not planning on it, it is important to remember to give yourself grace. Rather than giving up completely, simply start over again the next day. Do not scrap the whole plan just for one misstep along the way.

If you decide that cutting out alcohol completely is not what you want to do, you can also decide to consciously cut back on your intake of boozy beverages. This does not have to be an all or nothing approach. Remember that cutting back is better than doing nothing at all.

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