This January has been different – while the classic January Blues lurk around as always, we are also in a lock down, the typical challenge of a Dry January suddenly feels completely absurd.

So, by this point in the month, you have either found control in a successful alcohol-free month (well done you)! Or the opposite, maybe clinging to a bottle as everything else seems to crumble, perhaps the thought was there, but the motivation lost along the way…

Either way, it seems like the odds were against us all, choosing such a blue month like January. Who says we can’t give it another go? Let’s break the cycle and redefine what is needed to actually start a habit.

 

MOTIVATION AND RESULTS

No, a habit does not have to commence at the start of a week, a day, or even a year to stick, it’s a myth, and the perfect excuse for all the procrastinators reading this…

Many of us have found ourselves drinking more in lockdown because it’s instant satisfaction – how are we meant to replace such an easy source of satisfaction amongst all the stress, and start prioritising long term benefits?

Most people think that motivation needs to come first, before action, but that is hardly ever the case. We need to take the action, like cutting down on alcohol, to see the results of increased energy and better moods.  We can then be motivated by results! Action + Results = Motivation.
But remember, if January was too miserable to be motivated, that’s OK!

Try dropping a bad habit this month instead, see the results and keep going all year.

 

REPLACING THE BAD HABIT, ITS NOT WINE O’CLOCK ANYMORE…

You might routinely long for that glass of wine on a Friday night after the working week closes, or a gin and tonic on Zoom catch ups with friends. There are often certain times, locations or activities associated with drinking. We don’t have to stop these fun scenarios, instead, find alternative ways that achieve the same goal.

Do you normally drink alcohol to relax? To have fun? As an icebreaker to socialise? Look into other methods where you can get the same result and replace drinking with this. Have a long bubble bath. Take up an exciting new hobby. Replace social drinking with eating or activities, perhaps a themed cuisine event or a fun board game night.

 

SET BACKS

Realise that forming a new habit is not constant progress, broke the habit for one day? One week? Be gentle on yourself, recognise the break and then move on. An effective method is the 3-3 rule. You might ‘accidentally’ have 3 days off, which isn’t the best but also isn’t the end of the world, and you can counteract this by having 3 consecutive days on!

Take this even further, and ask why you slipped up, what have you learnt? What circumstances happened at the time, is there a trigger or feeling you can keep an eye out for? The change for Dry January might not come as easily as hoped, and you might only get bursts of motivation, that’s OK – maximise them!

All in all, just because you didn’t do Dry January, doesn’t mean you can’t start the positive change in another month…