Booze Free January 101

Booze-Free January: it is an increasingly common pledge and challenge for young professionals (YPs) across the country. But it’s one thing to say it or entertain the thought, and quite another to actually follow through, especially at the height of football season Sunday Fundays or on those chilly nights in when you would really love just one glass of red wine. Plus, it’s always at least one friend’s birthday in January… and we all know that self-indulgent YPs never let a birthday pass uncelebrated. A booze-free January may also mark a challenging shift if you’ve spent the month of December with a glass of booze perpetually in hand at holiday parties and dinners. But, if you have taken the challenge (and have even made bets with your friends or parents), here are a few things to keep in mind…

Think of it as a social challenge 
Although we all seem to enjoy a much-needed break in our social calendars come January, you can’t count on work events, dates and family functions to stop all together. Challenge yourself to see how entertaining, engaging or charming you can be without the confidence that comes with having a drink in hand. This means on dates, dinner parties and, yes, even your best friend’s birthday. You may even discover that you’re pretty fun and even more engaging when sober. Or you could realize that you are not at all, and that’s another issue in itself.

Don’t be boring
Don’t think of your month off of booze as signing up for 30 days of isolated hermit hell, but enjoy other things that do that don’t involve booze — your city is full of options. Perhaps the most obvious is the 30-day gym or yoga challenge, which goes hand-in-hand with the lack of booze. Other options include things like theatre (including wallet-friendly indie productions), skating, checking out art galleries, movies, live comedy or playing indoor tennis or squash. It also doesn’t necessarily mean you need to commit yourself to a month of nothing but water — experiment with smoothies, juices and different types of teas.

Think about how much better you will look
If nothing else, do it for your vanity and love of Instagram selfies. The best thing about giving up booze means you won’t be consuming the empty calories that come with alcohol, so it is easier to stay in shape or lose weight, not to mention your lack of a hangover will make it more enticing to hit the gym. Giving up alcohol also has a positive effect on your complexion, resulting in softer and clearer skin by the end of the month. So when you are tempted to break it, think about how much better you will look. And let’s be honest, you’re not getting any younger.

Treat yourself once it’s over
Reward yourself at the end of the month with something, whether with a nice dinner out at an over-priced (but so delicious) restaurant complete with a bottle of wine, a new pair of jeans, or even a night out on the town. Just don’t overdo it.

The main thing to remember is that for most YPs, a booze-free lifestyle starts to feel routine after about two weeks and you end up not even craving that glass of red with dinner or Caesar at Sunday brunch at all. We know more than a few YPs whose initial month-long break from alcohol lasted much longer than the month. The bottom line: if you’re going to do it, commit to it fully and don’t slippery slope it.

Good luck!


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