Jump aboard the sober express

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Sobriety may be one of many wishes on your New Year’s resolution list.

After a month of over-indulgence in the name of Christmas, going alcohol-free for a while will be sandwiched in there along with losing weight, getting fit, saving money and generally being an all round better person.

But will you really be able to follow it through?

Taking on too many changes to habitual behaviour is a recipe for failure, as many will know through personal experience.

Instead, it’s better to consider a reasoned and planned approach to changing just one thing.

Tell your friends and family you are doing it, get some support and you may just find yourself succeeding.

And support is likely to be far more forthcoming if you’re benefitting others as well as yourself.

Cancer Research UK is one charity throwing down a gauntlet, challenging Scots to take part in a dry-athlon this January.

The charity, which is dedicated to saving lives through research, wants as many people as possible to steer clear of alcohol for one month and raise money through sponsorship which will help in the battle against cancer.

Lisa Adams, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for Scotland, said: “We’re urging men and women across Scotland to sign up to Dryathlon now and help make January 2016 our best month yet.

“Despite what people might think, going dry doesn’t have to be dull.

“We’re asking people to give up the sauce, not their social life, and there are plenty of fun ways to enjoy 31 hangover free days.

“So whatever tickles your fancy this New Year – from mischief-making to cake baking, learning to knit or an excuse to get fit – we’re encouraging people to jump aboard the sober express and embrace a month with one less sin, while raising money to help beat cancer sooner.

“When we call time at the bar this January 1, we hope people will proudly put down their pints and get ready to take on a month of fun and frolics without the morning after regrets.

“Every pound raised by our Dryathlete heroes will help fund the charity’s life-saving research.”

Last year, more than 6000 people stayed sober during January, helping to raise a staggering £605,159 for Cancer Research UK.

The money is vital considering the number of people cancer still affects.

Every day, around 83 people are diagnosed with cancer in Scotland, and one in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives.

However, thanks to the work of charities like Cancer Research UK, more people are surviving the disease now than ever before.

Survival rates have doubled since the early 1970s but more work still needs to be done to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.

Dryathlon offers a way for anyone to raise money for an excellent cause, give their health a boost and do their bank balance a big favour.

The dedicated site where people can register is fun and interactive.

Participants can enter how much alcohol they drink every week and the site will work out how much cash and calories will be saved in 31 short days.

There’s also a willpower quiz, giving you a taste of how you will cope if tempted by a quick chat and drink with friends.

So, if you’re up for a fun challenge that tackles a serious disease, visit www.dryathlon.org.

Signing up could mean that the only hangover you’ll have in January is a happy one.