Have you started on the Dry January challenge this month? Cara Barrett from Alcohol Concern has all the advice you need for staying on track
“Dry January isn’t about never drinking again or punishing yourself,” says Alcohol Concern’s Cara Barrett. “It’s just a chance for you to reflect on your drinking patterns and to give your body a break after the festive period.”
1 in 6 Britons start on the Dry January challenge, with 62% of people saying they had better sleep and 49% saying they lost weight. Those who complete the challenge are more likely to reap the benefits up to six months after, by consuming less and becoming better at saying no to alcohol. But how can you make sure you succeed?
Here are seven ways to help you through the month…
1. Do it properly
Sign up to the Dry January campaign online and you’ll receive email support with tips and motivation from the experts to complete the challenge. As a reward for not hitting the pints, you’ll also receive weekly discount codes from Groupon, so you can try out new restaurants, beauty treatments and fitness classes.
2. Create a mantra
Set yourself a little reminder every day by keeping a post-it on your fridge or computer screen with ‘I’m doing DryJanuary’ or ‘I don’t drink’. This can be a really powerful trick as you’re less likely to be tempted by a post-work tipple and can start every day with your new mantra.
3. Buddy up
If working out with a friend means you push yourself harder and are more likely to stick to your workout sessions, the same can be said with doing Dry January. People who take part with a family member or friend are more likely to succeed – if one of you feels a wobble, the other is there to help you to keep on track.
4. Hold the phone
The proof’s in the pudding with the Dry January & Beyond app. Download it to find out how many calories and how much cash you’re saving by doing Dry January. There are also alcohol-free recipes and workouts to try. Seeing how good it can be for your waistline could be just what you need to keep going.
5. Tot up the savings
79% of people said they saved money during Dry January, and with three glasses of wine per week setting you back as much as £18, it’s no surprise. Put the money you save on booze into a savings fund and watch the pennies add up, then spend it on your reward at the end of the month.
6. Do it for good
Ask people to sponsor you throughout the month by signing up with Alcohol Concern – knowing you’re helping others by ditching the booze is great motivation. Plus, advertising the fact to so many people on your social channels means you’ll feel the pressure to keep it up.
7. Go out sober
If you’re ditching the alcohol but afraid you’ll miss going out, try a sober morning rave (no, we’re not joking), a sober night club or a zero alcohol bar – Redemption Bar in London, Sobar in Nottingham or The Brink in Liverpool are all alcohol-free zones.
Want to keep tabs on your drinking in the long term? We ask the experts how you know you’re drinking too much and what you can do to cut down.