There are plenty of reasons why so many people choose to participate in ‘dry January’ and willingly stay sober for an entire month. For one thing, staying sober for that symbolic first month of the year represents your sincere intention to make positive changes in 2017 and start the year off right.
A sober January means you’ll be more likely to get a head start on your New Year’s resolutions, since a clear head and the absence of hangovers will allow you to be more productive and focused on your goals.
Hungover people don’t tend to go to the gym, or work on a passion project, or reorganize their bedroom closets. This is exactly why dry January is a thing.
Plus, you might need a break from alcohol anyway. There are lots of health benefits that come with avoiding alcohol, such as clearer skin, more energy, higher productivity and improved mood.
It won’t be easy, but here are 6 tips that will help you successfully stay sober this January:
1. Go for a natural high
Alcohol may give you a high, but other things can substitute for that high, and lots of these substitutions are actually good for you. Sex, for example, releases endorphins, reduces stress and improves your mood. The health benefits of having daily sex prove that it’s a healthier version of that feel-good high you sometimes seek out with alcohol.
Exercise is another natural high that will help you feel great and not crave any booze. Exercise is an incredible mood-booster that leaves you feeling healthy and happy – so all you’ll crave afterwards is a healthy dinner, not a heavy beer.
2. Avoid the party scene
Don’t let FOMO get the best of you. There’s a lot to be said about JOMO – the joy of missing out – and I promise you’re not missing anything if you skip that party. It’s perfectly acceptable to say no to a few parties in January, and stay in instead.
There are plenty of fun indoor activities you can indulge in instead, like working on a DIY craft or baking something yummy. It’s best to avoid temptation (and therefore avoid the bar scene) if you’re serious about this endeavor. There are plenty of sober activities that you and your friends can do instead of going out drinking.
3. Buy a book that you can’t put down
Go to your local book store and ask for recommendations on the best sellers or ‘page-turners’ that are so good you won’t be able to put the book down. A really great book that you get all wrapped up in will have you forgetting all about everything else – including booze.
Here is a great list of book recommendations to get you started. Oh, and if you like thrillers, you’ve got to read The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl.
4. Make your intentions known
Tell your friends and family that you’ve not only decided to do dry January, but you’re also very serious about your decision. Ask them not to temp you, manipulate you, or disrespect your decision. Ask them to be supportive and once they realize that this sober challenge means something to you, they’ll be supportive. Great friends will come up with fun sober activities for you to do together and they might even be sober in January with you.
5. Get wrapped up in a passion project
A passion project is a side project you start at home that is directly related to whatever it is that you’re passionate about in life. Here are some examples of passion projects, but it all depends on your personal interests. Someone passionate about home décor might paint or refurbish furniture at home, while someone passionate about writing might start a blog.
6. Keep booze out of the house
If you currently have bottles of wine or booze at home, ask a family member to keep your stash safe for you until you’re ready to take it back. Even if you have great will-power, it’s still helpful to not have to see the substance that you’re trying to avoid.
Buy other drinks that you enjoy to consume instead of alcohol. If you have a favourite juice or soda, keep plenty of it stocked in your fridge so that you have options when you’re thirsty, or for when you mindlessly want to sip on something while you watch Netflix.
This article was originally published on EliteDaily.com