It’s that time of the year again; all around the world people have made New Year’s resolutions. For some, it’s to get healthier; others hope to get out of debt and there are those who want to rekindle relationships with family or friends. For people in recovery from an addiction, theses goals and others may also hold true. It’s no secret that many of these resolutions are not met. In fact, a recent study by psychologist Richard Wiseman shows that only 12% of “resolution-makers” succeed in what they actually want. The intention may be good, and this is not to say that these New Year’s goals are not impossible, but perhaps there needs to be more thought into how you will actually get to that success. Sure, you can say “I’m going to rebuild my health now that I’m sober”, or “I will renew my relationship with my children during my recovery.”, but you have to have a plan on how you will do just that! The following strategies will play a key role in reaching all of your goals on your New Year’s resolutions in recovery list.
It’s great to “think big”, but it is not always practical or even doable at the time (or for the next 12 month period). During your recovery from an addiction, it’s never a bad thing that you do have goals and a positive mindset toward a healthy recovery; however, it’s important that you review your list of resolutions and rework them into things you can actually achieve. By doing this, you won’t be faced with any disappointment when December comes around and those big things you had your heart set on didn’t actually work out.
Now that you have set realistic New Year’s goals during addiction recovery, it’s time to break them up into 3 month segments. Anything that will be out of reach from January until March should proceed in the months following. By doing this, you are not taking on goals that are not achievable and will eventually be pushed to the side and forgotten.
You may find that some goals are not reachable in one single go; if that’s the case, allow small steps to get there. It does not matter if it takes you an entire year to reach your goal, but the point is that you are making headway and an overall effort to get there.
It’s that simple. If you want to actually reach your New Year’s resolutions after getting sober, it’s best to begin with one little goal. This prevents you from feeling overwhelmed and lost about where to begin. It could be as simple as something like going to an AA or NA meeting a few times a week or writing in a recovery journal every day. These little things will make a difference and help you to stay on the right track.
If you’ve been to an addiction rehab, you will know how important and valuable support is – especially in early recovery. The community of recovering addicts and professionals will be there 24/7, 365 days a year. Should anything start to weight you down, know there are people such as a 12 step sponsor, sober buddy or counsellor who can lend a helping hand and open ear.
Like everything in life, you will face challenges and hurdles. These can be the quickest ways to give up on all your resolutions and end up in a very negative, even dark, place. Rather than throwing everything out the window, think back to what it is you were trying to accomplish. Maybe it was too difficult for the time being, or perhaps you overlooked something. Most importantly, don’t put yourself down or beat yourself up for something that didn’t work out as you had wished.
When something doesn’t go as planned, sit down and think about what you can do to make it work. If you have no solutions, maybe you should put this goal to the side and work on smaller ones which could very well be exactly what you need to overcome the obstacle you are facing. Take time, gather resources you have access to, learn from your mistakes and do your best to find the good in the “bad” or unwanted.
If a few months go by and you are straying away from your New Year’s goals, take a few minutes to think about why you made them in the first place. Try to remember the initial enthusiasm you had when making them and think about what you will get out of succeeding with them. It’s okay to rework these resolutions if that means you can accomplish them sooner or in a more practical way.
You are not making resolutions for the New Year to leave you feeling hopeless, alone or in despair. You have set them because they will improve your life in some way or another. Find a way to have fun while getting closer to the final goal. Smile, laugh and enjoy each step of the way. This not only keeps you in a positive mindset and uplifted spirit, but also can help you to prepare for the New Year’s resolutions every single year.
Finally remember for the New Year and your recovery, anything you put before your own recovery is the first thing you will loose if you relapse. Be sure that your resolutions and goals always put your recovery first.
Serenity Chiang Rai is a private residential treatment center located in the North of Thailand just outside the center of Chiang Rai. Rehab treatment in a nurturing, supportive environment is available for men and women above the age of 18. If you would like to know more about our drug, alcohol and gambling addiction programs, contact us today.