January is essentially the Monday of months. Like Mondays, it is a chance to give ourselves a clear marker for a clean slate that we hope will help us achieve whatever goal it is we set. It seems the rollercoaster that was 2016 induced a year of heavy drinking for many of us. And while the pursuit of a more balanced relationship with booze is often a popular New Year’s resolution, this year it has fostered an even larger movement.
Insert #DryJanuary, the resolution du jour on every functioning alcoholics agenda. For a whole 31 days or 44,640 minutes (but who’s counting?), drinkers around the world are calling their boozy relationships quits. The movement is bigger than ever, but it seems many have different motivations for staying dry this month.
Doing It For: Weight
Topping almost everyone’s reasons for bidding adieu to their favorite beverages is the chance to shed a few pounds. Yes, it has been proven that reducing alcohol intake can cause weight loss, but cutting it out temporarily may not be the answer.
If your goal is to permanently lose five pounds, eliminating booze for just one month and then binging the next 11 is not going to solve your problems. If slimming down is up at the top of your lists for reasons to do #DryJanuary, you may want to take a more “everything in moderation” method to your approach. Establishing a healthier relationship with alcohol, which you can implement this January, may give you a more long term basis for achieving your weight goals.
Setting strict boundaries and limitations on the amount of alcohol you allow yourself to consume, based on a dietary plan, may be a more worth while investment to your 2017 #bodygoals. With the money you pocket from not excessively drinking every night, get yourself a nutritionist who can suggest a healthy way to keep alcohol around.
Doing It For: Budget
Budget may not be the most popular reason, but it is definitely one of the best ones. Using the Rethinking Drinking Calculator, you can roughly calculate the exact amount of cash you’d save without your beloved booze. Say you go out drinking three times a week. You have maybe five drinks that each cost around 10 bucks. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to end up as an SAT math question which would cause us to drink more. According to the Rethinking Drinking Calculator, you would save around $150 a week, $650 a month and a whopping $7,800 a year. This is excluding all of the additional costs that come with a boozy night out.
If budget wasn’t on your #DryJanuary motivation list, think about all that you could accomplish with an extra $7,000 in your pocket. While one month’s alcohol savings may not amount to quite as much, this may serve as an opportunity to test just how much you can actually save. Not drinking for an entire year is entirely unreasonable, but setting yourself up for savings success may just start with a much needed month of #DryJanuary.
For some quick fixes on the budgeting for booze front, there are plenty of small changes you can see big results from. Drinking at home before you go out, only bringing out cash and taking advantage of happy hours, to name a few.
Doing It For: #Praise
Drink less they said, it will make you feel better they said. Well let us quote the late great Frank Sinatra in saying, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that is as good as they are going to feel all day.”
If you’re participating in #DryJanuary just to say you did it and gain a few extra social media likes, it is probably not worth your while. The instant gratification you get from getting over X amount of likes on Instagram, will most likely not outweigh the real life social benefits you get from drinking.
In such case, it is important to remember the separation between real lives and virtual ones. Just because all of your friends’ selfies portray how awesome #DryJanuary is, doesn’t mean they are actually having an awesome time. In fact they are probably sitting home reading this while their less social media concerned friends are out having a grand old time.
Doing It For: Health
One of the main reasons #DryJanuary participants are sticking to the schedule is due to the perceived health benefits. On the surface, we all believe that cutting alcohol out of our diets will make us healthier; but do we really know how and why?
Quitting alcohol for a month helps restore health to one of our most vital and commonly overlooked organs. While we are too tipsy to pay attention to our livers for eleven months out of the year, #DryJanuary gives it a chance to hit the ‘reset’ button. According to an article published in SELF, Frank Lipman, M.D., founder of Be Well, says “The liver is the largest internal organ we’ve got, but few of us pay it any mind until we’ve got a serious health problem,” he says. “While we’re busy ignoring our liver, it’s busy managing hundreds of bodily functions, including supporting metabolism, controlling blood sugar, and regulating fat storage.”
In a study conducted by New Scientists, a publication out of the UK, participants who went cold turkey for the entire month saw “their blood glucose levels — a key factor in determining diabetes risk — fall by an average of 16 percent,” and “liver fat, a precursor to liver damage, fell by at least 15 percent.”
The physical health benefits are pretty clear, and if your intentions lie within giving your liver a rest, we say go for it!