Dry January fail: Most people couldn’t make it two weeks without a sip of alcohol

NEW YORK — So much for New Year’s resolutions. If you gave the “Dry January” challenge a try this year, but couldn’t pull it off — you’re far from alone. The average American only lasted 10 days into their attempt before giving up, according to a new study.

Dry January is a yearly tradition in which one goes the entire month of the new year abstaining from alcohol. The survey asked 2,000 Americans over 21 to reflect on their experiences with Dry January and their overall drinking habits.

Results show that seven in 10 respondents (69%) have given the challenge a shot at one time or another – and it usually doesn’t work out. Over half (55%) of pollsters that have participated in Dry January said it was an unsuccessful attempt.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Cupcake LightHearted wine, the survey even shows that four percent of respondents failed Dry January on New Year’s Day! Nearly one in ten admits they were pouring themselves a drink by January 3rd.

So why couldn’t respondents make it 31 days booze-free? Nearly 45 percent of people admit to forgetting they were taking part in it in the first place. Other common responses include attending happy hours with friends (39%) or going out on a date (37%).

Are we collectively becoming a bit more sober?

Looking ahead into the rest of 2021, 72 percent of people want to be more mindful of their nutritional habits this year. One way 63 percent say they’re doing this is by being “sober-curious.” In other words, they’d like to take a set amount of time to cut down on their drinking.

In fact, 55 percent of respondents agree that cutting down on their drinking is one of their overall goals for the year. Moreover, 60 percent want to find a lighter option of their favorite drink. This goal has proven difficult to achieve for most folks. More than half (52%) feel like they have to sacrifice flavor when opting for a lower calorie adult beverage.

As respondents plan their goals for 2021, 55 percent think a diet that requires them to completely cut out alcohol is a definite no-go. Perhaps not surprisingly, the same number feels these diets have not been successful for them in the past.

“We were curious about what Americans wanted to achieve in 2021 after a difficult and stressful year,” says Jessica Tomei, winemaker for Cupcake LightHearted. “While it seems like many Americans had trouble sticking with their Dry January goals last month, the results showed that 56 percent of respondents would be interested in trying a low-alcohol version of their favorite drinks.”

What do Americans want in their wine?

The survey also delved into what exactly Americans look for in an adult beverage. Naturally, taste is the most important thing (55%), with a lower calorie count (49%) coming close behind. Twenty percent of pollsters who drink wine (approximately 1,800 respondents) also admit that they “always” end up buying the same bottle of wine because they don’t know what else to buy.

“On the whole, more than 72 percent of Americans want to be more mindful of their nutritional habits this year, with 66% planning to make small changes to their eating and drinking habits instead of making one big goal,” Tomei adds. “Trying a lower-alcohol and lower-calorie version of their favorite drink could be a great first step.”

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