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Keep track of your progress in drinking less

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How to monitor your drinking

Keeping track of how much you drink each day is one of the ways you can stay on target to reach your goals and drink less.

One of the benefits of keeping track is that it helps you build an accurate picture of your drinking.

It's common for people to underestimate how much they are drinking and to not be aware of their 'triggers'. These are things that make us more likely to drink, such as being out with friends or feeling stressed.

If you keep up monitoring your drinking for long enough, you can also use it to keep a record of any progress you make towards your goals.

How to keep track of your drinking

One way of monitoring your drinking is by writing down what you drink and when by using a diary or tracking tool.

There is a drinks diary below that you can download and use for this. There are also many apps and websites that offer these tools that you might like to try.

Remember if you're keeping track of your drinking, it's important to keep accurate records and write down every drink you have, no matter how small.

There's also no right or wrong when filling these diaries or trackers in, as long as they are true to you.

Some aspects of your drinking that you might like to monitor could include:

  • How much you drink in one session or a week
  • What sort of drinks you are having
  • If there are any triggers or situations that make you more or less likely to drink
  • Any progress you might be making towards your goals to cut down

Save a copy of the drinking less diary (PDF) [102KB]

There is no limit on the number of times you wish to use a drinks diary. If you feel it's helpful to you and keeps track of your drinking you can copy this for as many weeks as you need. 

Tips for drinking less

Try these strategies to reduce the amount you drink.

Know your alcohol units

The number of units in a drink is based on the size of the drink, as well as its alcohol strength.

For example, a pint of strong lager contains 3 units of alcohol, whereas the same volume of low-strength lager has just over 2 units.

Knowing your units will help you stay in control of your drinking.

Drinks with one unit of alcohol

  • Half pint of regular beer, lager or cider
  • Half a small glass of wine
  • A single measure of spirits

Drinks with more than one unit

  • An alcopop or a 275ml bottle of regular lager - 1.5 units
  • A 440ml can of regular lager or cider - 2 units
  • A 250ml glass of wine (12%) - 3 units
  • A 75cl bottle of wine (12%) - 9 units

Knowing your daily unit recommendations will help you when you are monitoring your drinking. Remember these recommendations are a guide to work towards. It's not expected that you would reach these recommended limits straight away.

The Chief Medical Officer recommends that people (regardless of sex or gender identity) should not have more than 14 units per week.

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