How has Dry January been for you? How we approach a challenge will influence the outcome...

"Do you begin with a dread, a worry about how difficult this is going to be and how much you are not going to enjoy it? Or instead do you visualise what it is you hope to achieve and keep that in your mind?"

For any of you who decided to have a break from alcohol this month, now you’re almost at the end of January I wonder how you’ve found it?
So often, especially if it’s for a set period of time, such as a month, we spend the whole time counting down the days until we can drink again. It doesn’t help when you only need to turn on the radio to hear presenters laughing that surely no one is still doing dry January? Go on, pour yourself a drink! Almost from January 1st the pressure is on to go back to drinking. We are told that abstinence is boring and difficult, and most of the things we read or hear seem to confirm that.
Imagine if you saw an advert that claimed it could “help to improve your sleep, help you to feel energised and wake up feeling good, reduce your anxiety, or help to relieve the symptoms of depression. It can make you less likely to crave high fat/sugar/salt content foods, it will probably lead to weight loss, give you clearer skin and improve your memory”. Is that something you would consider buying? If we have approached dry January realising that this is exactly what we are choosing to gain and that we are actually benefitting in lots of ways, it becomes something we are positively choosing to achieve, rather than something we are depriving ourselves of.
The secret to success for going alcohol-free for however long is to look forward to the benefits. If we started off on January 1st believing we were missing out then we set ourselves up to fail. Nobody wants to miss the fun. However, by choosing to spend January hangover-free you’re more likely to be having more fun because you have more time, more energy and more motivation.
I realise that the timing for this post might seem a bit late, because if you did choose to try dry January, you’re either still going strong and almost at your goal, or you’ve given up on it. But whatever your situation, it can help to consider what your approach has been so far and also consider how you approach any of life’s challenges.
Do you begin with a dread, a worry about how difficult this is going to be and how much you are not going to enjoy it? Or instead, do you visualise what it is you hope to achieve and keep that in your mind?
As with anything in life, be it big important things or small chores around the house, if you begin by focusing on the benefits that you are going to experience, you can maintain an optimistic approach, which makes the task easier to undertake and more likely to result in success.
Anna Pittard      www.amberhypnotherapy.co.uk