Studies have shown that many people want to reduce their alcohol intake, and while forgoing happy hours during the first month of the year as part of Dry January cleanse is a common way to reap the benefits of a booze-free life—such as losing weight and saving money—going the psychological route might be a better, more sustainable option. Mindful drinking doesn’t require you to go cold turkey, or even work toward sobriety—rather, to just be thoughtful about your sips and the value each adds to your life.
And though the concept is buzzy, it’s not new: MNDFL co-founder Lodro Rinzler has been offering mindful drinking classes at the New York City studio for nearly two years. It teaches people how to stay present and truly enjoy their drinks through smell and taste rather than just throw a few back at happy hour. The focus isn’t on cutting it out completely—it’s on changing the way you drink.
“The goal is more that they would have a healthier relationship to alcohol than to drink more or less. —Lodro Rinzler, MNDFL co-founder
“The goal is more that they would have a healthier relationship to alcohol than to drink more or less,” Rinzler told Time. “That said, many people do notice, ‘I will meet with that friend, and instead of having one, I have four drinks.’ They end up saying, ‘I don’t need to do that.'”
Basically, according to one registered dietitian nutritionist, mindful drinking is about enjoying all alcohol as you would enjoy a glass of your absolute favorite red wine: You wouldn’t just down it without considering the taste—you’d savor every sip.
“In a wine-tasting class, you’re taught to use many of your senses to fully experience the wine—how it looks, how it smells and, finally, how it tastes. We can take this approach with any beverage we drink.” —Amy Gorin, registered dietician
“In a wine-tasting class, you’re taught to use many of your senses to fully experience the wine: how it looks, how it smells and, finally, how it tastes,” Amy Gorin, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in the New York City area, told me. “We can take this approach with any beverage we drink, helping us to more fully appreciate those drinks and encouraging us to choose higher-quality options that are more satisfying.”
If you do so, Gorin says you won’t feel the need to consume so much. That can be beneficial in many ways, like decreasing your risk of chronic diseases that are linked to going overboard with alcohol.
So, sure, Dry January will put you in a good place for a month—but then what? Focus on the big picture by developing a healthy lifestyle that incorporates alcohol in a more meaningful way—one that doesn’t deny you a single thing.