Many people in January chose to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink. If that’s you – well done! But what now it’s February? How do you maintain your good start to 2017?

Whatever your goal was, any achievement you make cutting back on alcohol is worthwhile. If you have cut back you should be feeling some benefits.

Better sleep

You should be getting better quality of sleep. When you drink alcohol before bed, you spend less of the night in deep, restorative sleep. You’re also more likely to wake and find it hard to drop-off again.

Now that you’re cutting back, you should notice your sleep improving. That can have a knock-on benefit for anything from your mood to your ability to concentrate.

Better mood

Drinking can affect your mental health because alcohol interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain. Despite the positive feeling that some people can have when drinking, alcohol is actually a depressant. This can lead to a negative emotional responses taking over.

Drinking less can mean you feel happier more often.

More energy

With the affect alcohol can have on your sleep and mood, if you’ve cut back you should have noticed that you have more energy and feel brighter. You may have more time for family and friends  

Stay motivated

You’ve taken the decision to reduce the amount you drink and kept it going through January. To feel long-term benefits you might want to consider ways to stay on track – or to keep motivated through February and beyond.

Set specific goals: Reducing your drinking in January is a set target. To keep up the good work you may need a new goal. Our free Drinkaware: Track and Calculate Units app can help you set yourself longer term goals and will support you to stick to it.

You can add up the units and calories your consuming as well as the money you’re spending.

Share your goal: Tell your friends you’re carrying on cutting back into February. It’s easier to stick to a goal if people know about it.

Celebrate your success: Even if your progress going forward is small – give yourself some praise. The main thing is to keep going in a positive direction. You can set rewards and awards in the Drinkaware app but the best rewards are personal to you.

Reset your drinking in 2018

If you go back to drinking alcohol it’s important to stick within the Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) low risk alcohol unit guidelines of drinking no more than 14 units a week. That’s no more than six 175ml glasses of average strength (13% ABV) wine or six pints of average strength (5% ABV) beer.

At this point drinking within guidelines is more important than ever. By having an alcohol-free period you may well have reset your tolerance. You won’t need as much alcohol to feel the affects.

Now you’ve broken your heavier pattern of drinking you have the opportunity to build a new, more positive drinking pattern.

Our website has a host of information to help you or someone you care about cut back on alcohol or make healthier choices.

Good luck!