As we say goodbye to 2021, many people are looking to make a fresh start with 2022. If your New Year's resolutions include reducing or stopping alcohol use, here are some tips to help you set and stick with your goals.
While cold turkey might work for some people, many others find it difficult to go straight to zero. Just like a diet, you're more likely to stick with it if you set reasonable targets to make progress over time.
Know why you're doing it
Keeping your motivation in mind can help you stay on track. A few common reasons to reduce drinking include:
Wanting a physically healthier lifestyle.
Changing the focus in how you have fun.
Social reasons related to friends and family.
Have a plan
Lay out what you want to achieve, and then set yourself specific targets. This might be limiting yourself to a certain number of drinks each week or on any given night. If your goal is to reduce over time, that number might decrease over time. It also helps to have a plan going into social situations where you might feel pressured to drink more than you intend – here are some suggestions. Think about what you want to drink instead – it might be a good time to try new things.
Consider your habits
Little rituals can add up to major cumulative change over time. This might mean swapping a beer or glass of wine with dinner for non-alcoholic versions, trying new mocktails, or catching up with friends for lunch at a café instead of meeting up at a pub. New habits like exercise, meditation or hobbies can also help shift to a healthier lifestyle.
If there's someone you feel comfortable talking to, share your plan with them and ask for their support. This might mean talking through things or backing you up and helping you stay on track while you're out having fun. If you don't want to discuss it with someone in your personal life, check out online peer communities for like-minded people. Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) counsellors are also available 24/7 by phone at 1800 250 015 or by web chat Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm.
Staying the course
Downloading the Drinks Meter app can help track your alcohol intake. Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't meet your targets every time – it can be tough, but you can always try again the next day or next week – and celebrate when you do meet your target!
For free and confidential advice 24/7 call the Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015. Counsellors are available to provide information, referrals, crisis counselling and support. Or start a web chat with an ADIS counsellor online Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5pm.