Published: 16 January 2020
January is a time for New Year’s goals or resolutions. Cutting back on alcohol is a resolution for many people in 2020. But as January progresses, many people may find it hard to maintain their motivation. Change is possible. Here are some tips to help you get started or stay on track if you’ve already started.
Make a plan
It's normal to have doubts and mixed feelings about changing your habits. There may be times when you want to give in. Having a plan in writing will help you be clear about your reasons for changing. It will also help you to identify things that will help you succeed. Write down your top 5 reasons for making this change and keep them with you.
Decide what you want to achieve. You might want to drink less or stop drinking for health reasons or financial reasons.
Decide the rules
Controlled drinking means having strict rules about what you drink. For example, only drinking once a week or not drinking more than 3 drinks at a time. Keeping an alcohol diary is a good way to help you stay on track. If you want to stop completely, pick a date soon that suits you best and prepare for it. Keeping an alcohol diary
Learn from the past
You may have tried to unsuccessfully to change the way you drink in the past. If so, think about what worked and what you could do differently this time.
Feel good about what you’re doing
Reward your successes. Do things that you enjoy that you may not have done for some time. Like rejoining a local football team or trying out a new hobby.
Plan for triggers
You may have certain times you associate with drinking a lot or more than you would like. These times could include after work, nights out with friends or special events.
Some situations can trigger an urge to drink to excess.
These could be when you:
- have had an argument
- are stressed
- are feeling down,
- find it hard to sleep
- need a break from everything.
Try to think about how you will get through these moments, before they happen. This may mean changing your routine or finding new activities. It can also mean learning about better ways to deal with problems and cope with stress.
If you drink heavily or struggle with alcoholism trying to give up can be very difficult.
If you decide not to cut down or give up on your own, there are many ways you can get some help.
For confidential information and support, Freephone the Alcohol and Drugs Helpline on 1800 459 459 or visit AskAboutAlcohol.ie