If one of your goals is to cut back on how much you’re drinking, then we have some tips for how to do exactly that!
- Set yourself goals.
- Get rid of temptation.
- Keep yourself busy!
- Change up your social activities.
- Keep a diary or track your experiences.
- Speak out.
- Have fun plans for ‘the morning after’.
- Explore the alcohol-free drink options.
- Prepare a plan B.
- Drink slowly.
Whether your end goal is to cut back to weekly recommended units, stop drinking completely, or somewhere in between, then these top tips can help you reach your desired outcome.
Set yourself goals
A great first step can be to set yourself a goal, whether that's for the next week, month or however long. Good goals are specific and a little bit challenging, but also achievable. And remember you can always change them if you find them too easy or too difficult.
Your goal (or goals) could be based on a certain number of alcohol-free days, a maximum number of units or a maximum cost for example. If you don’t know where to start with setting your goals, you could start off with the UK low-risk drinking guidelines, which recommend that people drink no more than 14 units (about 6 pints of beer or 6 medium glasses of wine) and have several alcohol-free days each week.
Get rid of temptation
It can be all too easy to give in to cravings or temptations if you are around alcohol when you’re trying to drink less. You may find it easier to resist if you remove any alcohol from your home and reduce the amount of time you spend in places where alcohol is in abundance. Even if it’s just in the early days as you get used to your new habits.
Keep yourself busy!
Keeping yourself distracted during the times when you would usually have a drink can be a useful way to get through the wine witch cravings. If your trigger is being sat at home at 5pm, then book something like a fitness class for this time of the day. If you don’t plan for these moments, it’s easy to fall into subconscious patterns.
Change up your social activities
Are your usual social hangout spots in pubs or bars? Why not switch things up so alcohol isn’t the primary focus. Activities like crazy golf, bowling or even better, an activity you have to drive to can be a fun day or night out without the pressure to drink. It’s exciting to try something different, so go wild researching the options in your local area.
Keep a diary or track your experiences
One of the best things you can do to help you achieve your goals is to track your progress by monitoring how much you are drinking with a drinking diary, or what you learn as you go through the process of changing habits. You can track things such as:
- What drinks or units you consumed (if any)
- If you did drink, why did you feel you wanted to drink? How did it make you feel? And how productive could you be the following day?
- If you are trying to keep an alcohol-free streak going, you could track the benefits you experience as you go.
One of the obstacles you may face is peer pressure to drink when you’d prefer not to. So to combat this, if you are comfortable to talk about it, try to make your friends and family aware of your decision to not drink, or to only have one. Explain your reasons why, try to let them in, ask them to help support you in your choice. They are less likely to inadvertently persuade you into a drink if they are aware of your goals.
Have fun plans for ‘the morning after’
You are less likely to want to drink too much the night before if you have fun plans the following morning that you want to feel in tip top shape for. If you know you have something to look forward to the next day you won’t be left feeling boring or drenched you in FOMO.
Explore the alcohol-free drinks options
There is a vast market of alcohol-free drink alternatives out there to explore now, so have some fun finding your favourites. If you’re making them at home, use fancy glasses so there is still a sense of celebration or pageantry. If you’re in a bar, you can ask them to do the same – or order your usual G&T, just without the G. No one around you needs to know it doesn’t have alcohol in if you’d prefer them not to!
Have a plan B
If you do go out to socialise in bars, pubs or restaurants, have an idea in your head of an alcohol-free option to order. And have a backup option. If your first option isn’t available, knowing you have another to fall back on, rather than panicking and reverting back to old habits and ordering an alcoholic drink will help you to stick to your goal.
If you do choose to drink on occasion, then try to remember to drink slowly. Keep an eye on the people around you and make sure you don’t finish your drink before anyone else. You’re less likely to get carried away, ordering more drinks if you are conscious of making your first last.
Kick hangovers to the curb!
By sticking to healthy habits around your alcohol consumption, those dreaded hangovers could be a thing of the past!