Ask a life coach: How can I cut back on drinking?

A close-up shot of friends clinking glasses at sunset
Focus on the positives of quitting drinking (Getty)

I find myself discussing my drinking habits, in one way or another, on a daily basis.

We are living in a society that has completely normalised excessive drinking, using it as a clutch for regulating emotions, celebrating or commiserating.

If you're thinking of cutting back, be it for Sober October or for good, I would like to assure you that you are by no means alone in your quest to ditch the booze, or in your struggles to do so.

Happy female friends sitting together at table in winery during weekend party
Drinking is a big part of our lifestyle - so can be hard to cut out (Getty)

I would also like to commend you for deciding to do something about it, and joining the quest for a potentially happier, healthier life.

I certainly relate if you find alcohol makes you sluggish – even if your drinking doesn't feel excessive.

You may also like

Earlier this year, I was lacking energy and found myself constantly exhausted, so I gave up drinking for three months.

After three months alcohol-free, I can proudly say that I managed to completely shift my relationship with drinking. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but once I started to notice the benefits and feel lighter and brighter, there was no going back for me.

Young woman in a blue dress holding up two drinks
Hattie MacAndrews gave up drinking for three months

As a life coach, I help clients through their challenges by creating sustainable, achievable goals, and here's the advice I'd give anyone looking to cut back on alcohol.

How to quit drinking, according to a life coach

1. Set achievable goals

Firstly, take a moment to understand what your goal is, and why it’s so important to you.

If you enjoy a glass of wine and it plays a role in your life socially, perhaps your first step is to cut down your daily consumption, rather than cut it out completely.

Couple toasting wineglasses at winery
Drinking can make us lack energy (Getty)

We are much more likely to achieve our goals if they are both realistic and achievable. Find some clarity here before you embark on this journey.

2. Reframe your thinking

Next, I encourage you to reframe your thinking when it comes to drinking, and really start to pay attention to the language you use when it comes to your new goal.

I can safely say that if you start with the mindset of ‘I never achieve my goals’, I’m afraid to say, you absolutely won’t. You and you alone are entirely responsible for your actions. Our thoughts control our feelings, and our feelings control our actions.

 READ: 5 ways to make every day special – and feel instantly happier

So, you must start by at least thinking 'I’ve got this. I can do this'. Think of quitting alcohol as a step to enhance your lifestyle, or to becoming a better version of you.

3. Focus on the positive

Once you've shifted your mindset and you’re feeling excited about this next step, let’s take a moment here to focus on what’s to be gained. What’s the ideal outcome? A lack of energy is likely to improve tenfold by cutting your alcohol consumption. But how else will you benefit?

Perhaps you will use your invigorated mornings to go for a brisk walk, take up a new hobby or spend more time cooking delicious and nutritious food. Maybe there’s a fitness challenge you have always wanted to achieve, which now feels more doable without the constant hangover and brain fog?

You may also like

I noticed a big shift in my ability to understand and process emotions when I wasn't drinking. Having a clearer mind frees up space to experience and enjoy a plethora of human emotions, which might have previously been dulled or blurred by alcohol.

Remember, this is a marathon not a sprint. You are in the process of undoing years and years of a ‘bad’ habit, so be kind and patient with yourself. It’s okay to slip up occasionally, just pick yourself up and get back on track.

READ: 24 of the best alcohol-free and low alcohol drinks

4. Remember why you're quitting

Last but not least, don’t lose sight of why you’re doing this. Taking control of your relationship with alcohol will enhance your life in more ways than you can imagine.

Everything about your day will be lighter and brighter. You can’t change what people think about you, but you can change how you respond.

Don’t let peer pressure be the reason you don't achieve your goals. Life is too short to care about what others think – so just get your head down, stay in your lane, and please report back when you’re busting with energy and feeling glorious!

 For more advice from Hattie, follow her on Instagram and visit our HELLO! Happiness hub for inspiration on living your happiest life.