On 17th January, it is "Ditch Your New Year's Resolution" day, after the most miserable "Blue Monday" day of the year, 24 hours earlier. I have one thing to say to all of you trying Dry January this year or indeed any new intention, and that is, don't quit folks! It is always tough to try to change old habits, with some believing that it takes 21 days to form a new one, so I get that it can be difficult to do something as huge as quitting alcohol. Believe me, I have been there!
Let me share some tips to help you stay on track:
It is OK to falter
If you have succumbed to the grape already or feel that you are going to, remember that is OK to falter. No one is perfect and we must allow ourselves to mess up from time to time without beating ourselves up about it. The fact that we are trying is amazing so if you have had a tipple recently, pick yourself up and try again. There is no rule that it must be Dry January - how about Dry February? Or even, have a few weeks off the alcohol not tied to any week or month.
Find a support buddy
It is a lot easier to give something up or adopt a different lifestyle if you have support from a friend who maybe is doing the same. This way you can check in on each other, gee them up when it is hard and spend time together doing something that is not drink related. But remember that this is not a competition and we are not here to judge if another fails, but be kind to yourself and others who are trying. Work together at planning nights out and decide up front what you will drink and that the two of you will have a great time. Or why not swap the night out for a lunchtime juice?
Give yourself a huge pat on the back for doing this well so far. You are amazing for even giving it a go! Think about a time in the last two weeks where you have surprised yourself when sober and remember how well you felt the next day. Reward yourself too by giving yourself permission to treat yourself such as enjoying a slice of cake with your friends. Not only do you deserve it but you will have saved a bit of money by not drinking for two weeks. I now save £1600 a year by being teetotal! If you haven't put the money in a piggy bank, why not go back and do it now so you can actually see the saving, then continue for the rest of the month. If you need extra incentive, decide now what you will spend the money on come February.
Find a hobby
The best way to fill the time and your thoughts is to learn something new to take you away from any struggles. When I gave up back in January 2015, I started crafting which then led to a regular feature in Reloved Magazine. Maybe read that book that you have been meaning to enjoy, learn to knit, or even crack open the Breaking Bad box set - anything that will occupy your mind while you kick the habit.
Try to avoid procrastinating on social media though as many of the memes about January and all the goodness it can bring may have a reverse effect on you. And any doom and gloom won't help your positivity at a time when you need it the most.
Remember why you are doing it
In moments of struggle it is hard to see the bigger picture so take a moment to remind yourself of why you are doing Dry January. Remember the health benefits, the clarity of thought, the clearer skin and the money saved. My article 5 Reasons to Give Dry January A Go, at the start of the month may help with this.
It is only a few more weeks to go, and if you are anything like I was back in 2015 you may not want another drink on February 1st. Just think how happy your liver is right now!