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6 Tips for Sticking to Dry January

6 Tips for Sticking to Dry January

Following a year defined by difficulty, the shift to January gives many a reason — if only because they can now count up to ’21 — to hit the reset button. New Year’s resolutions abound, perhaps more so than ever before, and one mainstay is a commitment to bucking booze, at least for one month. The Brief History of Dry January

It’s no surprise that many would commit to limiting alcohol intake — the health advantages to moderate drinking are numerous, and staving off alcoholism has its own benefits. The arrival of Dry January, a month-long period of alcohol abstinence to begin the new year, brought this unsurprising resolution into broad popularity starting in 2014.

Based in the U.K. at first, Dry January began with one woman — Emily Robinson — who abstained from alcohol for one month before running a February half-marathon in 2012. When she joined Alcohol Change UK and continued the practice the next year, those around her wanted to learn more about how ditching alcohol made her feel. By 2014, with Alcohol Change UK and health experts backing the movement because it inspired decreased drinking throughout the year, Dry January spread throughout Britain and arrived in other countries, including the U.S. For more on its timeline, Alcohol Change UK provides a helpful resource detailing the initiative. About 13 percent of Americans will participate in Dry January in 2021, up from 11 percent the previous year, according to a recent Morning Consult poll. Though as many as 73 percent still don’t know about Dry January, the movement has a small but growing following.

If you count yourself among these early adopters who are swearing off alcohol for the first 31 days of the year, you’ll need some backup to realize your goal. Consider this list of tips for sticking to Dry January our way of coming alongside you this month. Recruit Support

Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes your bubble (the people you spend physical time with during this pandemic) to keep you away from the bubbly for the month. In fact, Dry January’s appeal centers on its ability to create a sense of togetherness amongst like-minded people looking to limit their alcohol intake.

Though resolutions typically feel individualized, you’re more likely to succeed if your circle knows about your commitment. That way, they aren’t as likely to tempt you to cheat and may periodically ask you how it’s going. The latter gives you extra motivation to go through with your Dry January (and social consequences for casting it aside).

Better than telling others about your plan, get them to join you. Having a general Dry January community out there is helpful, but it’s nothing like living out the potentially difficult month with someone near you experiencing the same ups and downs. Notice How Dropping Alcohol Makes You Feel

Our second tip for sticking to Dry January is to be mindful of how your body and mind react to the shift away from alcohol. The Morning Consult poll finds that, among the 13 percent of Americans going dry, a significant amount — 79 percent — do so to be healthier.

Though alcohol withdrawal can be an initial negative to the first few days for some, drinkers of all kinds may quickly see progress towards their weight-loss goals as they dump alcohol’s empty calories, for one. Also, observe how well you sleep, how often you go to the bathroom and the quality of your memory. All four tend to improve when you’re off or limiting alcohol consumption, so use those near-immediate positives to fuel your continued commitment to a Dry January.

Mental-health improvements are another source of motivation. Though alcohol provides short bursts of feel-good hormones such as serotonin, it inhibits serotonin production in the long term and even raises stress hormone levels. It’s possible that, in a matter of weeks, going dry will give you mental relief that propels change beyond January. Replace Alcohol

Many don’t like the prospect of giving up wine with a nice dinner or their Sunday beers during a football game because they only see the loss involved. Alcohol’s conspicuous absence from certain weekly routines makes it hard to stay the Dry January course. That’s why you’re better off finding a replacement drink to fill that absence and ease your transition into a sober month.

One excellent replacement is ginger brew. One hundred percent sober-friendly, Blueberry Ginger Brew is one of many Windmill flavors that, given the high ginger content, pack an alcohol-esque punch and help you towards your health goals. Plus, this one in particular comes with plenty of antioxidants to fight cancer-causing toxins in your body. With ginger brew, you can participate in all the same activities as before with a bottle or glass in-hand, or you can use it to make a dry version of your favorite cocktail. It can diffuse those awkward questions about why you’re staying dry, and, who knows, you could like it enough to add to your repertoire long-term. Avoid Tempting Triggers

Another idea, perhaps in addition to substituting a new drink to your routine, is to switch up the routine itself. This approach limits the triggers that your brain associates strongly with alcohol, strengthening your chances of persisting.

For example, don’t let yourself sit around on Sunday and wish for a can in your hand; plan to go sledding or dive into a day of board games with your family. This type of change acknowledges you’re a human — a creature of habit — who needs intentional structure to succeed during Dry January. Don’t Demand Perfection

As you navigate your January, it’s possible you do compromise a bit on your commitment, perhaps when a trigger arises. If that happens, don’t pitch your entire month and go back to normal — learn from it and plan accordingly. And if you can’t realistically see yourself going dry the whole time, strive to limit how much you drink. After all, this month’s whole goal is to challenge yourself to see what drinking less feels like. Consider Your Deeper Purpose

Often, people decide what they want to do and search and search for how to best accomplish it. What that approach lacks when it comes to Dry January is it completely ignores the deeper why behind the what.

Your why is your purpose, usually illustrated in the person you want to be after engaging in Dry January. Perhaps you feel that you lack discipline or want to enjoy or care for your body intentionally and see this month as a step towards that. Consciously drawing from these or other purposes further roots you in your commitment. Windmill Ginger Brew

Windmill Ginger Brew is ready to support anyone trying out Dry January or looking for a longer-term addition to replace alcohol. In addition to Blueberry, we’re proud of our newly stocked, fiber-packed Strawberry Ginger Brew flavor. Be one of the first to sample these tempting flavors!