Forget New Year’s Resolutions in 2016. Instead, set small, realistic goals for the year that will aid in your addiction recovery and make this year your best year yet!

Best Year Yet in Addiction Recovery

The holiday season has come and gone and the New Year has been rung in. It is 2016, and many of you might be thinking about New Year’s resolutions — whether they pertain directly to addiction recovery or not. The problem with resolutions, however, is that only 8% of New Year’s resolutions are actually met.

Why Do New Year’s Resolutions Fail?

According to one study, the 10 most common resolutions include losing weight, falling in love, getting organised, learning something exciting and spending less money. The problem with these resolutions is that they are entirely too vague. It is not very realistic to say ‘this year I am going to fall in love’ because you need to think about things in more depth. Where do you plan to meet the person you will fall in love with? What have you been doing in the past that has prevented you from falling in love? Do you need to work on your own internal issues that may be preventing you from falling in love?

Similarly, ‘spending less money’ is also not specific enough. Where will you cut your expenses? Can you realistically spend less without completely disrupting your current lifestyle? What will you do with the money that you save?

In order to be successful in setting and achieving goals, you must ensure they are very specific, and above all, that they are realistically attainable.

How to Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet

Instead of setting yourself up for failure with grand resolutions that will be difficult to keep, you are better off setting a number of small, simple goals that will come together to make 2016 your best year yet. The following processes will help you start 2016 off on the right foot.

1. Reflect on the past year.

Whether new to addiction recovery or a weathered veteran, every recovering addict has ups and downs. In order to make this upcoming year the best year yet, you have got to take the time to think about what made the previous year both good and bad. Think about the struggles you had as well as the successes and accomplishments you experienced. Think about how you were feeling in general about life when these events occurred. Usually, you will notice a pattern of certain behaviours or feelings when good things happen, and the same for negative experiences. Make note of these and then try to figure out how you can increase the situations that breed positive experiences and limit the situations or feelings that appear to breed negative experiences.

2. Purge and de-clutter.

It is amazing how few things people actually need in order to survive. However, if you are like most people you have got closets full of clothes you never wear, bookshelves full of books and magazines you never touch, and kitchen cupboards overflowing with Tupperware containers that do not even have lids. Start the year by getting rid of anything you have not used in the last six months to a year. Clean out your cupboards and organise your home. Even be sure to delete any apps on your phone that you do not use. Sell everything you do not want in a yard sale and then donate whatever is left. The positive psychological effects this can cause will likely surprise you.

3. Visualise the future.

This time next year, where do you want to be? Imagine what you will be doing for a job, where you want to be living, and who you want to have around you. Write everything down on a piece of paper or create a vision board and place it somewhere that you can see every day. It is important to focus on these goals each and every day. You will need to also write down the steps needed in order to achieve each vision that you see. Can you imagine yourself living in a new home? Figure out how much money you would need to save each month in order to buy the place in your visions. Want to reconnect with your parents or siblings that you have fallen out of touch with? Figure out what your first step will be — asking them to coffee? Having them over for lunch? Take small steps toward your goals each day and you can achieve them by next year!

4. Follow your heart.

There is a saying that goes ‘Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.’ Most people have a dream of something they would love to do. But many people in addiction recovery, especially those who have lost many years of their life to addiction, feel as though it is too late to follow their dreams. This is not true. Of course, at the age of 40 one cannot decide to become an astronaut or a brain surgeon. But within reason it is possible to follow your dreams! With a bit of planning and hard work you can be successful.  And there is no better time to start planning for it than now — because in one year from now you will be one year closer to achieving your dreams.

5. Find new ways to stay active.

Staying active is incredibly important for anyone, but especially for those in addiction recovery. The physical and mental benefits of physical activity are immense, but sticking to an exercise routine is difficult for many people. The more that you vary the activities and keep it interesting, the more likely you are to stick to consistent physical activity. Check online deal sites such as Groupon. They frequently have great deals on yoga, bootcamp classes, gym memberships, indoor rock-climbing and various other activities in your area that will keep you active and healthy without breaking the bank.

6. Meditate.

Whether in addiction recovery or not, daily meditation is something that every person should attempt to achieve. After just seven days of meditation, one writer for Business Insider found that he was already more focused, more aware and overall more relaxed. Mindfulness meditation can help prevent relapse as well. If you want to have a better 2016, give yourself 30-45 minutes of meditation each day and you will be amazed at how quickly you will see positive changes in every aspect of your life.

7.Educate yourself.

One of the top 10 New Year’s resolutions was ‘learn something exciting’. And although it is quite vague, these people are actually on the right path. Continuing to educate yourself through adulthood is invaluable. Whether you take the time to read books on addiction to better understand your own disease, take a course to further your career, or even learn a new language at the local community centre, keeping your mind actively learning is beneficial to all aspects of life. Not only will your mind be more engaged, but gaining knowledge increases confidence, and self-confidence can not only help prevent relapse, but it can make you more successful in several areas of your life including relationships and, of course, in your career.

8. Make a schedule and stick to it.

Do not expect to start everything straight away. Telling yourself that next week you will start yoga, try kick-boxing and begin meditating every day is unrealistic. Instead, get yourself a calendar and slowly start scheduling these new practices into your daily routine. Start with de-cluttering your house and making a vision board. Then grab a calendar and make a plan. If saving money is part of your vision, make a budget and write the amount you wish to save each month on the calendar. Want to start yoga? Why not spend the month of January looking for a yoga studio you like and plan to start February 1st. Do not overwhelm yourself with too many plans straight away, but do create a solid plan of how and when everything can realistically be done. And do not forget to incorporate meetings and other aspects of your recovery plan into the calendar.

9. Track your progress.

Setting a goal is pointless if you do not plan to track your own progress. Monitoring your progress in addiction recovery is fairly easy — if you have not abused substances or processes you are doing pretty well. But with the above goals there is more to it than that. Use the calendar you have made to ensure that you keep on the right path. And make sure that your recovery does not get pushed aside when trying to incorporate these new activities and ways of living into your schedule. Your recovery should always be your number one priority, but the above goals will actually make it easier once you have got them implemented.

If you really want to make 2016 your best and most successful year yet, it will take time, focus and effort. After all, it is true what they say — most things in life worth having do not come easy. But if you go through the above processes and truly put an effort into making this year amazing, you will be rewarded.

If you or a loved one want to achieve addiction recovery in 2016, our team of highly experienced addiction specialists are ready to  help you achieve your goal.

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