2021 - A chance for a new beginning

2021 will be a whole new chance to get it right. We’ll beat Coronavirus and we’ll remember what’s important – our health, our family and friends.

It’s also a chance to reset your drinking – to drink less overall, if that’s what you want to do. Many people decide to give up alcohol for January – or at least for the first few days of January. Giving up for a bit is natural and a good idea if you’ve overdone it during Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. However, some people decide to make bigger changes to the way they drink throughout the year.

If you’re having a natural break from alcohol, even for a few days or weeks, then it's a good time to reset your relationship with alcohol and consider exactly how much alcohol you want to drink in future and if you want to cut down or just be more in control.

In the same way that we have good and bad habits for much of our behaviour, we can also have unhealthy habits around alcohol – we sometimes drink too much without even realising it.

We might prefer to drink wine with a meal, or to mainly drink alcohol with friends socially, or to unwind with a drink at home – these are habits that we have developed over time and that unconsciously we take for granted. Our preferences with alcohol become the norm for us, although it’s easy to forget we also have a choice to change the pattern if we’re not happy with it.

You may want to consider how much you usually drink during a typical week – if you’re regularly drinking more than 14 units a week, or more than 6 units per occasion, this has consequences for your health and you should think about cutting back.

If you’d like to practice drinking a bit less but are worried about how to do this, first plan ahead how much you want to drink every week. Sticking to 14 units a week – with two to three days off every week - gives your body the best chance of staying healthy, sleeping better and staying fighting fit for all the other tasks in your life.

Then practice saying no to alcoholic drinks – think ahead of what non-alcoholic drinks you’d like to have and practice asking for them, or bring them yourself. Don’t be bullied into drinking if you don't want to – it’s your choice. If you want to use an excuse for not drinking, just use it – losing weight, cutting down a bit, having a big meeting/game tomorrow – they will all do.

If you enjoy the taste of alcohol but would like to cut back, then have a look at all the excellent alcohol-free beers, wines and ciders that are available in the larger supermarkets. Experiment until you find the brand you prefer and switch your usual alcoholic drink to an alcohol-free alternative. You’ll be surprised that you won’t notice the difference.