We’re two weeks into 2017 and you know what that means: it’s make or break time for your New Year’s resolutions. Statistically, this is the week when many of us will decide to give up on our goals.
We all know what it’s like.
At the start of the year – when you’re hungover and exhausted from too much boozing – Dry January seems like such a good idea. It’s the obvious thing to do. But once that initial enthusiasm fades and real life gets in the way, it’s all too easy to convince yourself that one drink won’t hurt…
Know what I mean?
If you promised yourself that you’d do Dry January but you’ve been finding it tough, then don’t worry – it’s never too late to start over. Here are 5 tips for sailing through the rest of this month:
Use your mistakes to your advantage.
Back in 2013, I tried to do Dry January. My friends joined in half-heartedly and ended up flying through the month alcohol-free. I took it really seriously but lasted less than a week. So trust me – if you’ve slipped up already, I know what that feels like. It’s doubly hard when everyone else seems to be doing fine.
The good news is that just a few months after that disastrous January I quit alcohol for good. (In April I’ll be four years alcohol-free!) So what changed between January and April 2013? Well, I realised that mistakes happen; we’re only human. So rather than beating myself up, I tried to learn from them instead.
Mistakes really are your opportunity to examine what’s working and what’s not – so you can come up with a better plan for next time. Get clear on what it is you’re looking for in alcohol; if stress is a trigger for you, what can you do to cope with that in a different way? Make a plan now.
Build in time for fun, relaxation and treats.
One of the lovely ladies on my stop drinking course had a lightbulb moment last week; she realised that in the past, the only time she’d given herself permission to chill-out was when she drank. No wonder her previous attempts at sobriety had been tough; she’d never allowed herself to have any other kind of relaxation time.
Are you guilty of doing the same? You have to build in some down time – this is particularly important if alcohol has always been your way of switching off at the end of the day. A Dry January should not be devoid of fun or pleasure. If you found time to drink then you can find time to treat yourself.
Keep a journal.
Write down one good thing every day. Be really specific – what benefits have you noticed about not drinking? Are you saving money? If so, how much? Do you have more energy? What have you been doing with your free time? Alcohol is such a time thief!
When we’re working on something challenging and finding it tough, it’s easy to get sucked into a ‘poor me’, negative mindset. But when we focus on what we have to be grateful for, our lives feel more abundant. Feeling good about ourselves is an important part of staying sober.
Focus on one thing at a time.
If you made a long list of New Year’s resolutions, now is the time to prioritise just one or two of them. Sure, it’s good to eat healthily and get some exercise, but it’s also important that you don’t take on too much. Now is not the time to start a punishing diet or a killer gym routine! For now, just focus on getting your sobriety nailed. If you’re regularly drinking too much it’s hard to stick to a diet or workout plan anyway.
Restock the fridge.
This sounds like such a no-brainer, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t do this. Get rid of any alcohol in your home (or hide it somewhere out of sight) and restock with a range of drinks you’re actually excited to try. Think: fresh fruit juices, sparkling water, grown up soft drinks, fancy cordials or mocktails. No one should have to make do with plain, lukewarm tap water. It’s so boring and miserable!
If you’re used to having an end-of-the-day drink, then you need to replace that with something that feels just as special. Ritual and routine are a big part of why we drink – now’s the time to create a sparkly, sober version.
Now I’d love to hear from you.
How’s your Dry January going? What tips and tricks are working for you?
Have a great week!