The start of a new year is a great opportunity to do a reset of sorts and assess some of our current habits. This will be my second year doing Dry January, and here are some tips that helped me get through the month and actually look forward to doing it again.
Consider Your WHY
Whether you went a little too hard with the champagne and spiked eggnog during the holidays and need a detox, or you just want to cut back on alcohol because of the calories, keep in mind why you’re doing this and honor the commitment you made to yourself. My first Dry January was in 2021, coming off of a year of drinking way too much wine. I was looking for a way to detox from the holiday and create healthier habits around alcohol.
Identify Your Triggers
Figuring out when you are most likely to drink alcohol can help you avoid succumbing to having a drink. If you generally enjoy having a glass of wine while preparing dinner, or maybe it’s when you are out to dinner with friends, then you should plan ahead. For me, it was definitely after a stressful day; I would have a glass of wine at dinner. Going to brunch with friends was another trigger for me. I noticed I would order a mimosa without even thinking about it, because it was such a habit for me. Being aware of when you are most likely to drink can help you be conscious of your behavior.
Once you identify your triggers, you can plan and get ahead of them. Once I realized that alcohol was a way for me to decompress after a stressful day, I created a new ritual. At the end of the evening after the kids went to bed, I made a cup of herbal tea and drank it from my favorite mug while watching a show. I replaced my mimosa at brunch with a latte or asked for sparkling water with lemon. Try swapping out your cocktail for a mocktail or flavored water.
Think About the Benefits
Seeing the benefits of not drinking will keep you motivated. At least, they did for me. Waking up and not feeling as sluggish or like I needed coffee to start my day because of that glass of wine the night before definitely felt good. In addition to being able to wake up more easily for my morning workouts, not consuming those extra calories from alcohol helped with my fitness goals.
Track Your Progress
Seeing how far you’ve come is another great motivator. I use a habit-tracking app on my phone to note every day I honor my commitment. I like HabitShare because you have the option to share your streak (if you’re doing Dry January with someone or you’re just looking for some accountability). You could also use a calendar to track your progress for the month. If you do have a slip up and drink, that’s ok. Be kind to yourself and get back on track the next day. When you see how many days you didn’t drink, you can absolutely still be proud of yourself. Consider it a slightly humid January!