5 Tips to Make Dry January Easier, From Someone Who Does It Every Year

dry january


If 2020 is any indication, making long-term plans can be...complicated. But, when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions—and specifically completing a Dry January—all you need is 31 days to achieve better skin, enhanced sleep, improved digestion, and more money in the bank. 

As the name suggests, Dry January is the act of giving up all forms of alcohol—wine, beer, spirits, and cocktails—for the entire first month of the year. The trend started in the U.K. in the early 2010s and made its way across the pond. It’s been gaining popularity in the U.S. ever since.

In order to achieve a sober month—whether you’re a seasoned Dry Jan pro, or this is your first attempt—I'm sharing advice from my new book, The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month. Consider this your guide with recommendations, recipes, and interactive exercises to keep you from popping bottles and sipping cocktails.  Put your drink down, and read on to find out how to accomplish a successful Dry January (or any other month) with these five tips. 

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

The first time I did Dry January in 2017, I decided to embark on a sober month moments before the ball dropped on New Year's Eve—without any ideas, plans or know-how. There were still bottles of alcohol in my apartment on January 1 and throughout the month! That said, "out of sight, out of mind" is a great tactic for first timers. Before your Dry January begins (or as soon as you can), store your alcohol in a safe space so you're not reminded of drinking every time you open the fridge or pass by the liquor cabinet. Some other options are giving your stash to a friend who can store it for a month, or literally pouring all of your booze down the drain. The decision is yours to make (although, note: tossing out expensive liquor isn't usually participants' first choice). 

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Switch Things Up

Instead of sipping sangria to pass the time at home, schedule activities that make you happy. This will keep you on track with your dry challenge and allow you discover new pastimes and revisit old favorites. Frankly, when you aren't nursing a hangover, you'll have more time and energy to do the things you love! Right now, my favorite workouts are M/BODY by Marnie Alton and TORCH'D by Isaac Boots, which are much easier to do when I'm well-rested and don't feel dehydrated from drinking. If working out isn't your thing, you can put together a puzzle, redecorate your living space, or read that pile of books you've been putting off—not to mention you can still cook, watch sports or visit new restaurants (pending COVID restrictions). Just say "pass" on the wine list when it comes around.

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Find Your Sober Month Support Squad

Strength in numbers, right? Although you don't need 100 of your closest friends, family members or Instagram followers to abstain from alcohol to make your Dry Month successful, the more the merrier! Having people around with shared goals can be motivating and also keep you accountable—not to mention, you can plan outings and activities together. Even if it's one person—a best friend, partner or co-worker—who's dedicated to the cause with you, it can serve as a bonding experience. This group or individual will not only help you get through new and potentially uncomfortable situations, but you can do the same for them as well. And feel free to reach out to people online for support too! You can search the hashtags #dryjanuary and #thedrychallenge to see tons of people participating in tandem.

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Sip Something New

A nightly glass of wine may be your go-to 11 months out of the year, but during Dry January you can expand your palate and replace a bottle of vino with nonalcoholic bubbly, like Grüvi Dry-secco and nonalcoholic rosé. If you're more of a beer drinker, there are nonalcoholic beers as well. Athletic Brewing Company makes a variety of brews including IPA, Goldens, Lager and more. And of course, if you're a cocktail connoisseur, Lyre's Nonalcoholic Spirits can help you make everything from espresso martinis to Manhattans.The best part? Zero hangovers included.

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Reward Yourself In The End

A little motivation goes a long way. While Dry January has built-in health benefits (read: clearer skin, better digestion, improved sleep, et. al), sometimes promising yourself a treat on February 1 can encourage you to push through challenging days. For example, if you've been fawning over a new winter jacket, a stationary bike, or dreaming up your next big travel adventure, take your hard-earned cash that you've been saving (since you aren't spending it on margaritas or wine) and use it to buy yourself something nice. If you prefer to not spend a ton of money after the holiday season, you can reward yourself with simple pleasures like a nice meal at your favorite restaurant or a soothing bubble bath.

dry challenge
The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month $16

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