Write it down and start drinking mocktails: Seven ways to stay off the alcohol and stick to Dry January

 
James Nickerson
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Dry January can seem a daunting challenge (Source: Getty)

You may still be gearing up for a fairly heavy New Year's Eve, but that doesn't mean you can't start preparing yourself for Dry January.

According to website dryjanuary.org.uk, some two million people last year cut down on their alcohol consumption in January 2015 - and even more people are expected to stay off the booze this year.

Read more: 10 tips for healthy eating in the New Year

Stopping drinking for a month can create significant health benefits, from weight loss and better sleep to more money in your pocket.

But that doesn't make it any easier, so here are some tips on how to stick to your pledge.

1. Make a plan

This may sound a little patronising, but simply writing down what you plan to do can help you achieve it.

Club Soda, a movement of people who want to change their drinking, says even scribbling down "I will not drink tomorrow" is a start. More detail is better, though.

2. Check in weekly

It may seem ineffective, but once you've set your goal, you should be keeping track of your progress regularly.

This gives you the chance to think about what was difficult and how to make it easier for yourself in the future.

3. Continue as normal

Good news: you should still be socialising as normal. Though it may be difficult to be out and about without having a drink - especially if your friends are - it's important that you don't become a hermit.

Anecdotal evidence suggests it can be helpful to find events where drinking is not the main pull. Hey - you could even pick up a new hobby in the process.

4. Hit the mocktails

While they won't pack a punch in the same way, many have found non-alcoholic drinks including mocktails can be life-savers during Dry January.

Read more: Drinking wine can keep your brain 7.5 years younger

You can find some mocktail recipes here.

Of course, you can always get some non-alcoholic beers too.

5. Buddy up

It can be daunting to set this challenge, especially if your friends are accustomed to meeting in bars and pubs.

Try to persuade a friend to take on the challenge with you, to give each other support during the month.

6. Buy yourself something pretty

You're probably going to end up saving a fair bit of money. Given you've accomplished something here, treat yourself to something nice and reinforce the positive side of cutting back on alcohol.

7. Cut yourself some slack

While it's certainly a good thing to stick to the target of the whole month, don't be too hard on yourself if you slip up.

It may take time to reach your goals, and having that one beer on Sunday at the pub in mid-January doesn't mean you have to give up on the whole month.

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