Why drinking less is the only resolution

Why cutting back on alcohol can help you achieve all your New Year ambitions.

If you are one of the millions of people who plans to make resolutions for 2016, the chances are that they include getting fit, losing weight, being more organised and generally feeling better about yourself. There’s one simple step that can help you make your resolutions a reality: cutting back on alcohol.

Effects of alcohol

If you regularly drink too much it can make you feel anxious and interfere with your sleeping patterns, both of which will stop you feeling your best. Alcohol can stop you looking your best too. Some brands of beer, lager and cider contain a whopping 250 calories per pint – more than a cornetto ice cream. Drinking can also interfere with your fitness regime. The way alcohol is absorbed by the body can reduce the amount of fat you're able to burn by exercising. That’s not great if you’re committed to losing weight and getting fit.

Start by sticking to the guidelines

The best place to start is to try and keep your drinking within the government's the lower risk guidelines and you can do that by finding out how many units of alcohol you last drank via our unit calculator and then tracking your drinking over time with the Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units App or our MyDrinkaware tool.

Meanwhile, it can help to think about why you drink in the first place. Edmund Tirbutt, co-author of ‘Beat the Booze’ believes that many people see alcohol as a reward, particularly after a stressful day.

“If this is why you drink,” he says. “It’s worth finding something else to reward yourself with, like a massage or a hot bath. Then you’ve got something to look forward to at the end of the day.”

Edmund adds that if you’re trying to reduce the amount you drink then making other positive lifestyle changes, such as taking time for exercise, or getting up an hour earlier to get more done can help give you the inspiration you need.
“Introducing new habits into your life means that you’re more likely to be receptive to the idea of change,” he says.

Drinking less doesn’t magically make your New Year’s resolutions easier to achieve, but sticking to the guidelines might be your first step towards a healthier and happier 2016.

Simple steps to reducing your alcohol consumption

Cut down together. Make a commitment to drink less with friends, family and colleagues – you can remind each other of the benefits if your motivation wanes.

Ditch the rounds. Rounds encourage you to drink at the speed of the fastest drinker, which means you could be drinking far more than you really want.

Go for quality over quantity. Order half pints or bottles of beer or go for the smallest glass of wine. Sticking to drinks with a lower ABV (alcohol by volume) than your usual tipple means you consume less alcohol overall.

Choose the soft option. Ring the changes at your dinner table by having water, juice or a soft drink with your meals rather than a glass of wine. 

Take some days off. Give your liver a rest by taking a couple of alcohol-free days each week.

Have a look at our Feel better checklist to see some of the great benefits cutting back on alcohol can bring.

Page updated: December 2015