New Year’s Resolutions for Recovering Addicts
A new year brings new opportunities for change and growth. For many people – addicts included – this takes the form of New Year’s resolutions. However, we all know that many resolutions are never actually achieved. This year, make your resolutions for recovery attainable and geared towards making your life as a recovering addict easier.
When it comes to setting goals for the new year, many people think too far ahead, or use very broad resolutions. This makes the goals hard to achieve. So why not take a lesson from addiction recovery methods, and take your resolutions for recovery ‘one day at a time’?
Your resolutions for recovery should be easy to implement and quick to see results in order to stay motivated and on the right path.
Resolutions for Recovery: Attainable Goals for the New Year
Set Exercise Goals.
The most common resolutions around the world are ‘losing weight’ and ‘getting fit’ – but that is far too broad of a goal, and the majority of people end up giving up after a few weeks because they do not actually know how to get fit or lose weight. Instead, set attainable goals such as walk or run 10km per week. That is less than 1.5km per day! Once that becomes easy to do, raise it to 15km per week, and keep going in that pattern.
Regular exercise and physical therapy has a wide range of benefits, including boosting your mood and reducing stress. Whether you like to work out in a gym, at your local pool, or playing a sport with friends, setting some goals for fitness is a great way to stay in shape, reduce stress, and increase your chances of long-term sobriety.
Change your Eating Habits.
Along with exercise, the food you eat helps keep you grounded in a healthy body… and mind. And since most addicts have neglected their health while addicted, it is ever more important to eat well in recovery.
To ensure that you are getting all the nutrients and foods you need to keep you feeling satiated (and less likely to desire abusing drugs or alcohol), check out a recovery diet guideline, and make weekly goals to change your eating habits.
Eliminate potato chips or all snacks one week. The next week make it your goal to eat at least three types of vegetables each day. Slowly introducing new habits into your diet (instead of abruptly changing it all at once) will make it easier for you to keep it up long term. If you are unsure of how to eat properly, set up an appointment with a nutritionist in your area.
Read an Inspirational Book.
Is there a book you have been meaning to read? Is there a story of a recovered addict that you might find inspirational? Not only is sitting down and taking the time to read a book a great way to relax and unwind – but there are many great addiction and recovery memoirs that may inspire you on your own road to recovery.
To make your goal more attainable, set a date by which you should finish the book. If that seems too daunting, give yourself smaller goals, such as one chapter each week, or every couple of days.
Nurture your Relationships.
A great resolution for recovery is to intentionally support and ask for support from significant people in your life. Life in recovery can often feel lonely, and many recovering addicts feel as though they are living in a world of their own – separate from friends and family.
Set a goal of reaching out to at least one person who means something special to you each month. Pick up the phone or send an email to ask that friend or family member to go for coffee, see a movie, or even go shopping at the mall or local market. Just be sure to stay away from those who you used with, as you don’t want to trigger a relapse.
Unleash your Creativity.
Finding a creative outlet is an excellent way to release your stress, emotions, and your overall feelings in a way that is conducive to your recovery. But being creative does not have to mean being artsy or musical. Find new ways to cook your favourite vegetables, or write down any dreams you may have, and try to analyze on your own what they might mean. There are hundreds of ways to be creative that you’ve probably never thought about. Choose one day a week to be creative.
Find your Inner Peace.
Okay, that might sound a bit airy-fairy, but it is an important part of staying sober. Everyone these days is so busy with work, building and maintaining relationships, chores, and other tasks – that many people feel they are constantly rushing through life. As an addict in recovery, however, you have to add meetings, support groups and other therapies to this already busy lifestyle.
In order to maintain sobriety, you must take time for yourself. Write in a journal, meditate, or attend yoga classes. Set a goal for yourself to do at least one of these activities each week, and you will notice a great change in your stress levels, and an overall feeling of being at peace with yourself.
Simplify your Life.
Feeling busy and anxious about stuff going on in your life is a trigger for relapse. Instead, reduce the clutter from your life, and simplify everything. Start off by getting rid of things in your home and work space that you don’t need. Everyone has items that are just wasting space. Get rid of them! Spruce up your space with a fresh coat of paint, or fresh-cut flowers in a tidy space. Once you feel comfortable in your surroundings, sit down and write a list of everything you love about your life in one column, and things you wish to change in the other.
Once you’ve got both lists, set about making a schedule of how you can change those things that are bothering you. Knowing that you’re on track to changing these parts of your life will make you feel better immediately. If you are unsure of how to change these things, ask a friend, family member or even your counsellor or sponsor for help.
Getting Started on Your Resolutions for Recovery
Getting started on your goal is always the toughest part, and sticking to it comes next. Start off by writing down your resolutions for recovery, and also write down why they are important to you. Post the paper on your fridge or bathroom mirror – somewhere that you will see it frequently to remind yourself of your goals and why you are doing them.
After that, tell your close friends and family about your resolutions for recovery – tell them what you are doing and why. This is a helpful way to hold yourself accountable for your goals, as friends and family will frequently ask you how you are doing with them – and you’re going to want to have a positive reply.
The Secret to Making Your Resolutions a Reality
Depending on where you are in your life and in recovery at the moment, different goals will speak to different people. Keep in mind that many people fail at sticking to their resolutions for recovery because they do not truly see the benefit, or they feel that that the activity or action is too difficult.
Making one or two small changes consistently can yield greater benefits than a change carried out half-heartedly, which results in giving up too soon. That is why it is important to choose resolutions for recovery that really mean something to you, and resolutions for recovery which have achievable goals on a daily or weekly basis.
This year, aid your recovery with attainable, short-term goals that you can take one day at a time.