It’s Friday afternoon and your office may be warming up for the weekend with a couple of drinks.

This month, however, fewer colleagues than usual will be heading to the pub with you, as many Australians participate in Febfast.

Febfast is a national health and fundraising initiative that challenges people to give up the booze during February.

The aim of this month-long activity is to raise money for young people with alcohol and drug problems and also give the participants a much needed break from alcohol following the December/January festive season.

Abstaining for a month will naturally benefit your overall health in the short-term and now new research suggests there are also long-term positive behavioural changes associated with participating in the event.

In a study released by VIC Health in January last year, 70 per cent of respondents agreed that after completing Febfast, they were more likely to consider how much they wanted to drink on any occasion.

Furthermore, nearly two-thirds had more alcohol free days each week after completing Febfast.

As the participants were likely to drink more and more often compared to the average Australian, the conclusion is that Febfast is a highly beneficial experience for heavy drinkers.

Aside from personally experiencing the benefits of drinking less the participants also had a chance to reflect on the role of alcohol in our society and in their social groups.

The success of the campaign is due to a combination of gaining personal benefits and an increased awareness of alcohol consumption in general.

It appears as if this dual effect is able to generate long-term positive changes in alcohol consumption.

As long term behavioural change is what we often seek in PR, these findings can lend much to our understanding of how best to influence our target audiences.

What’s clear is that experiencing personal gains and heightening ones awareness is a sure-fire cocktail (no pun intended) to a successful campaign.