As the calendar year comes winding down and the holidays start wrapping up, a new year is approaching. With it comes new possibilities and the chance to start fresh. For someone in recovery from addiction, the New Year can be a welcomed time to set new sobriety goals. Setting realistic goals in recovery can also help them turn a few weeks of sobriety into a lifetime of clean living.
Realistic New Year’s Resolutions for Addiction Recovery
Unfortunately setting resolutions and actually following through on them are completely different stories. In fact, only about 8% of Americans successfully achieve their New Year’s resolutions.1 One of the biggest barriers to people making these resolutions come true is that their goals are not realistic to begin with. This year become a part of the 8% by learning how to set realistic New Year’s resolutions in recovery. If you follow the SMART goal criteria and make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound, you could be well on your way to a year filled with accomplishments. As providers of behavioral health services, we are shaving a few examples of realistic New Year’s resolutions for recovery to help you get started.
Resolve to exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week.
Part of addiction recovery should be about getting healthy. If you were abusing drugs or alcohol for an extended amount of time, you likely caused significant damage to your physical health. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to help your body heal. Instead of making the general resolution to exercise more, set specific and quantifiable exercise goals to help you stay on track and remain accountable.
Resolve to try one new thing a month.
For someone in active addiction, drugs and alcohol can consume their life and take up all their free time. When they go through recovery, it may feel like something is missing. A realistic recovery goal may be to take steps to find something to fill that void. By making the commitment to try one new thing a month, you are opening yourself up to new opportunities. You can meet new people and may discover a new passion that can help you fill that void once and for all.
Resolve to journal every day.
Especially if you just left inpatient treatment, there is a lot you are still learning about yourself and about living in recovery. A helpful New Year’s resolution for recovery may be to journal regularly. Not only is journaling therapeutic in many ways, but also it can help you track your good days and bad as well as note relapse triggers. Journaling may also help you determine when you may be at risk of relapse and alert you to getting outside help before it is too late.
Resolve to touch base with loved ones at least once a month.
Many people with substance use problems isolate themselves from their loved ones. Now that you are sober, it is time to make these people more of a priority in your life. Not only can regular contact, whether it is in-person or over the phone, help you mend these relationships that were likely damaged from your active addiction, but also it can help you build up your support system and keep you on track in recovery.
Resolve to challenge your negative thoughts.
Addiction is often caused in part to destructive and negative thought patterns that may even be built on faulty logic or become wildly exaggerated if unchecked. One of your addiction recovery resolutions should be to challenge your negative thoughts whenever you feel them starting to spiral out of control. Make an effort to examine toxic thoughts when they pop into your head and break them down. You should also challenge yourself to look at the bright side. This change in thinking can drastically improve your outlook on life.
Resolve to make time every week to count your blessings.
Along with trying to think more positively, a beneficial and realistic New Year’s resolution for recovery is to practice gratitude regularly. Taking the time to be grateful for what you have and how far you have come in your recovery journey can help remind you why you never want to go back. Setting even just five minutes a week to jot what you are thankful for down can be beneficial and easy to follow. The New Year could mean a new start for your recovery, and at Vertava Health, we want to help. We understand that recovery often means taking it one day at a time. Our virtual addiction care services are here for you to give you added support when you need it and help make your recovery goals a reality.