If you’re struggling with your alcohol consumption, you’re certainly not alone. Try these strategies to mindfully cut back on the amount you drink.
#1 Track Your Drinks
Cutting back on drinking is a great goal, but it’s too generalized to yield recognizable results. In order to cut back on drinking, you need to know how much alcohol you consume. For three or four weeks, try tracking your drinks. This can be tricky when you’re out and about enjoying yourself, so you may need to implement some mindful strategies. Keep all your receipts if you’re drinking out on the town. At home, you can collect your empties in one spot and count them up at the end of the day or week.
Once you have a benchmark for your typical alcohol consumption, you can set a clear goal for cutting back. Continue tracking so you can see your progress toward consuming fewer drinks each week.
#2 Choose Drink-Free Days
If you’re in the habit of drinking daily, set aside three or four alcohol-free days per week. If you’d like to go for a hard reset, you could even take a month-long break where you abstain from alcohol entirely. This will force you to form new habits in place of your old drinking routines.
#3 Try Drinking Mocktails
Mocktails can take the place of your favorite beverages while helping you step back from your alcohol consumption. Try a juice-based drink with colorful garnishes in place of fruity cocktails. If you’re a beer drinker, consider a nonalcoholic brew that mimics the flavor of a craft beer without the alcohol.
If you’re concerned about figuring out how to reduce alcohol consumption at social events, these substitutes can help. You’ll still have a cooler of beverages to carry and a chilled drink to sip on throughout the evening, so many of your habits can stay the same.
#4 Pursue Alcohol-Free Activities
For many people, the temptation of alcohol is just too much when others are drinking heavily at the same event. Remove yourself from these temptations by incorporating more alcohol-free activities into your schedule.
Instead of going to a bar, go out on a night hike under the stars. Start booking dates at restaurants that don’t serve alcohol or don’t offer a full bar. Join a class at the gym, start volunteering with a local organization, or get involved with a religious organization or meditation group. Actively work to fill the gaps in your schedule where drinking used to be so you don’t have time to miss your former habits.
Thoughtful strategies like these can help you reduce your alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol use can cause high blood pressure, anemia, depression, nerve damage, and other dangerous conditions. After you’ve adjusted to your new lifestyle changes, you might be amazed at how good you ultimately feel.