New Year’s Resolution: Drink Less Alcohol

New Year’s Resolution: Drink Less Alcohol

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A recent poll showed that over 40% of people are planning not to drink alcohol in January. Whether you're trying to avoid alcohol altogether for the month or would prefer to make small changes that you can keep up throughout the year, give yourself the best chance of success by making a plan.

Be realistic

A 2013 HSE report found that in Ireland, we underestimate how much we drink by over 60%.(1) With this in mind, figuring out exactly how much alcohol you drink on average is a good place to start when making your New Year's resolutions. Our drinks calculator will show you the number of standard drinks and calories you consumed on any given occasion, as well as how much money you spent. This will help to give you an idea of how much you drink on average.

Try out our drinks calculator now

Set your goals

Getting the facts about how alcohol affects your health and wellbeing could help you set your goals. Whatever you choose, make sure they are the right goals for you. Here are just a few to consider.

  • Sleep better: Even just a few drinks can affect the quality of your sleep, often leaving you with a bad night's rest and less energy than normal the next day.
  • Exercise more: If getting fit is your goal, it's a good idea to remember that alcohol is high in calories. These 'empty calories' have no nutritional value and in fact, alcohol contains almost as many calories as pure fact. To put this in context, the average bottle of wine (750ml, 12.5% ABV) contains roughly 700 calories. If you were to drink one bottle of wine every week for a year, you will consume nearly 36,000 extra calories.

Find out more benefits of cutting down on alcohol

Stick to the guidelines

During the festive season, there are more social events to attend and people often drink more than usual - more than is considered healthy. The 2016 Healthy Ireland Survey found that 37% of us binge drink on a typical occasion.(2) The Department of Health/HSE recommend that to reduce alcohol-related risks to your health, you should not exceed the low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption:

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Take our quiz to find out if you are drinking within the guidelines. If not, it could be time to think about making a change.

Make small changes

Little changes to the way you drink can have a big impact. The next time you drink alcohol, why not try some of our quick tips?

  • If you usually drink pints of beer or cider, why not opt for a bottle or half pint instead?
  • Always finish one glass of wine before pouring another. Topping up your glass makes it hard to track how much you are drinking.
  • Alcohol dehydrates the body. Alternating each drink with water will help keep you hydrated.
  • Swap out your usual full strength drink for a low-alcohol alternative.

Here are some more tips to cut down on alcohol

Whatever your reasons for reducing how much you drink and however you choose to do it, remember to keep focussed on your goals, track your progress and note any positive changes you experience.

(1) Long J & Mongan D (2013) Alcohol consumption in Ireland 2013: analysis of a national alcohol diary survey. Health Research Board.

(2) 2016 Healthy Ireland Survey, Ipsos MRBI. Commissioned by the Department of Health.