For many people, the new year is a time of optimism and hope for the future and, for those struggling with addiction, it may be seen as a time to renew their commitment to recovery. Although this is a positive choice, many people break New Year’s resolutions as quickly as they make them. For people who are living with addiction, it’s important not to attach their recovery steadfastly to these resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions are often unrealistic and can lead to disappointment if the goal is not met. If you choose to make resolutions this year, here are some tips to help make your goals stick:
- Make sure they are realistic. Take time to think about your goal and decide if it is achievable. If it is too lofty, it will be impossible to maintain in the long run. Instead of one big goal, consider a few smaller ones that help you get to where you eventually want to be.
- Make them measurable. Writing down your resolutions and what you hope to achieve is a helpful way to look back on your progress and measure your growth. This also allows you to create a more realistic plan for achieving your goals because you can think critically about how to reach milestones along the way.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you slip up while pursuing your resolutions, don’t beat yourself up. One mistake doesn’t mean the whole resolution is a failure. Try again the next day. It’s important to remember that achieving goals takes time, but the progress you make towards them can be just as meaningful.
Making recovery your New Year’s resolution is too lofty – recovery is a lifelong process that takes ongoing commitment. However, setting goals that complement your recovery efforts is a great way to continuously move forward and prioritize your health. Here are some resolutions that won’t put too much pressure on your recovery and provide support on the journey.
Journal every day. This goal is realistic and measurable because it requires a specific action and doesn’t require too much time. Write down the things you’re grateful for in the morning or take 10 minutes to reflect on the day each night. Either way, this resolution is beneficial for people in recovery because it pushes you to analyze your feelings and incorporate gratitude into your life.
Start a hobby. This resolution can be as small or large as you’d like. The new hobby could be reading a book each month or taking an art class. It’s helpful for individuals in recovery to adopt hobbies because they’re positive ways to add healthier habits into your life and focus less on substance use.
Perform acts of kindness. This resolution doesn’t need to be extravagant. It can be a small act of service like buying coffee for a friend, hold open the door for a frazzled parent, or volunteering in your community. By regularly performing acts of kindness for others, you are focusing on showing gratitude for the people in your support network. Giving back to others will strengthen your relationships with others, which is an important part of recovery.
Remember, New Year’s resolutions are about progress. If you’re expecting perfection, you’ll only be putting unhealthy pressure on yourself and setting yourself up for disappointment.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, CleanSlate is here to support you now and beyond the new year. For more information or to find a location near you, call 833-505-HOPE or visit www.cleanslatecenters.com.