7 Hacks For Starting (And Finishing) Dry January

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The new year is an ideal time to hit the reset button. Though that looks different for different people, one common theme year after year is resetting your relationship to alcohol with Dry January — abstaining from alcohol for the first month of the year. If you need some tricks to start Dry January, there's plenty of support for those who want to stay sober during January. If you're on the fence, it might be worth a go because the study found that taking part in Dry January has some surprising benefits. For the 800 people who took part in the study and didn't drink in January 2018, just going alcohol free for one month yielded myriad positive outcomes.

"The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week," Dr Richard de Visser, who led the study, said in a statement. He added that people also reported sleeping better and saving money. This is interesting because another study found that people would pay quite a bit of money for better sleep. By participating in Dry January, there's not only the chance of improving your sleep quality, the costs savings are a given. You know, because alcohol is expensive.

"Interestingly, these changes in alcohol consumption have also been seen in the participants who didn’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month — although they are a bit smaller. This shows that there are real benefits to just trying to complete Dry January." Want to give it a go? Here are some tricks to help you get started.


Download The Dry January App

If you need some extra accountability, there is an an app called Try Dry from Alcohol Change UK, the organization that started the event, that helps you track whether or not you drank each day and how much money you saved by not drinking. While the app is ideal for Dry January, it can track your drinking habits year round to help give you a clear picture of your alcohol consumption. You can also sign up for Dry January email support.


Dedicate Your Dry January To A Worthy Cause

A great way to hold yourself accountable and do some good is to dedicate your Dry January effort to a cause that's important to you. For example, if you're passionate about animal welfare, consider tracking all of the money you save by abstaining from alcohol and donating that money to a local animal rescue group at the end of the month.


Take The Dry January Challenge With Friends

Everything is easier with support. Consider asking your squad to participate in Dry January too. Start a group text to check in with each other each day and hold one another accountable. I did this once with a meditation challenge, and knowing that others were counting on me to honor my word made me meditate on the days I just didn't feel like it. Similarly, asking friends to take on the Dry January challenge with you increases the chances that you'll all succeed.


Treat Yourself

If you like to unwind with a night out with your girlfriends, channel that same energy into a self-care night with your besties. Use the money you'd put towards your bar tab on face masks or fun snacks. At the end of the month, you might just find you've started a new (non-drinking) tradition.


Commit To Learning Something New

Have you always wanted to learn to play piano? Maybe it's signing lessons or a dance class that's on your someday-I'll-get-around-to-it list. Whatever your jam, consider filling your time you'd previously spend out with a new hobby and use the money you're saving by abstaining from alcohol to fund it. Sign up for the class now and pay for it in full to increase the chances that you'll follow through. By the end of the month you'll probably save enough money to pay for your hobby and then some.


Create Some Delicious Mocktails

One way to make Dry January more appealing is to create a non-alcoholic substitute for your evening drinks. My roommate is sober, so mocktails are a staple at our apartment all year long. One of our favorites is sparkling water, a little bit of lemonade, and bitters. The store at the end of our block used to sell a soda with the same recipe from Australia, and when they stopped carrying it we decided to start making it ourselves. You can even garnish it with a lemon and a cucumber if you want to feel fancy.


Remind Yourself Why You Want To Do It

Before you get started, get clear about why you want to participate in Dry January. Do you need to save money? Do you feel like you've been drinking a little too much and want to take a break? Perhaps you're having trouble sleeping and you want to see if abstaining from alcohol helps. If you know why you're doing it in the first place you can come back to that motivation each time you're tempted to go for that glass of wine.

Remember, if you do give in and have a few drinks at the Lady Gaga concert in Vegas, it doesn't mean you've failed. Research shows that even participating in Dry January at all is beneficial. Good luck my friendlies, and may the odds be ever in your favor.