You may, seemingly effortlessly, make other positive changes
Perhaps you’ve been wanting to get into a workout routine and eat healthier. Removing alcohol, even just for a month, can have a cascading effect. Research shows that successfully changing one behavior boosts confidence and self-efficacy, which can prompt you to make more healthy changes.
In the case of Dry January, living a hangover-free existence supports other healthy habits: Waking up feeling good makes a gym visit more likely, which can spark a craving for a healthy meal, which can support good sleep, etc.
You may also find that you’re swapping your usual happy-hour time for a dog walk, or you’re drinking a healthy kombucha in place of a not-so-healthy wine.
Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin’s habit-change strategy of “identity” could be at play, too. You may think: “I’m a nondrinker right now, and nondrinkers make healthy choices.”
How effortless other health goals become often surprises people, said Nick Allen, a cofounder and the CEO of Sunnyside, an app and organization that helps people drink more mindfully.
“It’s amazing to see, especially for folks where alcohol is a little out of balance in their life, how drinking less — all of sudden they’re unlocking these other health goals that they’d been pursuing for a long time without much success,” he told me.