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Has Dry January dried up?

By January 22, 2021No Comments

Thinking Hat’s Teresa Beeley tests the theory with our team, as reports say nearly 3 million Brits have given up on it this year.

This year, Dry January – the campaign founded by Alcohol Change – celebrated its’ eight-year anniversary since its inception in 2013. Since then, the annual campaign has positively boomed from 4,000 participants in its first year to more than 4 million people taking part in 2020.

At Thinking Hat PR, we support awareness campaigns of all shapes and sizes, but the preliminary events of 2021 have left us needing something a bit stronger to quench our thirst which is why we ask: has Dry January dried up this year?

Let’s raise a glass to 2021!

A mere four days into a new year in the midst of a pandemic and we were hit with a series of heavy announcements – lockdown 3.0, the impeachment of a U.S. president and home schooling. With less than positive news, it’s perhaps unsurprising people took to social media to vent their frustration and proclaim the ‘death’ of Dry January this year.

According to a snap poll by KAM Media, 2.7 million people gave up their attempts at Dry January within the first week.

Celebrities such as Tom Holland and Michelle Keegan were among some of the first to throw in the tee-total towel, which prompted a Daily Telegraph columnist to collate his thoughts in a piece entitled ‘One good thing about the week we’ve had: Dry January is well and truly dead’ amongst several others. Surely Brits can be forgiven for cracking open another bottle of vino as they ironically toast to 2021.

New Year, Newish Me?

In true PR fashion, we decided to do our research within Thinking Hat to see who’s thrown in the towel. Interestingly, 91 per cent of Thinking Hatters have forgone Dry January this year, with a mere tenth (nine per cent) of the agency soldiering on.

According to the staff survey, nearly half (45 per cent) are mindful when it comes to an alcoholic beverage and the odd imbibe helps them get through the long bleak month of January.

That said, despite not partaking in Dry January a majority of the agency are trying to keep their spirits and heart rates up with more exercise. Ninety-one (91 per cent) of respondents are compensating with cycling, long walks and runs, with nearly a fifth (18 per cent) even signing up to do marathons this year too.

It’s all about balance

Instead of Dry January one in five (18 per cent) Thinking Hatters have chosen to take on Veganuary in addition to increased physical activity to kickstart their ‘New Year, New Me’ goals, which begs the question: should we use this time to instil new habits?

According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit, and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic.

Commenting on long-term habits, David Segurola, Head of Strategic Communications at Thinking Hat PR, said “With so much going on right now, I’m taking each day as it comes! For me, Dry January could be another reason to feel guilty – so instead I’m trying to set the right mindset and good habits for the whole year ahead.”

“We have just adopted a wirehaired Daschund puppy, Betty, so she has been our motivation, inspiration and distraction. Taking an hour out of the day to walk round the local park, chatting to locals and striking up friendships, has been a real pleasure.”

David S, Head of Strategic Comms and Betty

Matt Fox, Senior PR Executive, also said “Despite still having some beers throughout the week, I am turning to my childhood hobbies to remain motivated and inspired; reading, sketching and maybe even knitting!”

Matt Fox, Senior PR Executive at Thinking Hat

Despite our agency’s lack of resolve for Dry January, 6.5 million people in the UK, accounting for 12 per cent of the British adult population, are still taking part in the challenge according to Alcohol Change.