The new year offers us a clean slate to start fresh and improve various aspects of our life. Because many people (in recovery or otherwise) tend to not follow through on resolutions long term, it can be beneficial to implement healthy tips for people living with addiction during New Years instead. Through reassessing areas of your life and moving forward with SMART goals, which are measurable goals and a plan to keep yourself accountable and stay on track, you can see positive change without the pressure and fear of failure that a long list of resolutions can sometimes bring. Please note that SMART Goals are not related to SMART Recovery, which is an addiction-related treatment type. These goals are meant to help you set an action plan for yourself.
Take some time to assess your life, including the progress you’ve made and goals you would like to achieve in the new year. If you are in recovery, take a look at your routine and behavior when it comes to your support group or 12-Step meeting attendance. Have you not attended as much as you would have liked, or have you attended the same meeting for a long time and things are starting to feel stagnant? Support groups and 12-Step meetings have an abundance of locations across the US for people in addiction recovery. Maybe the new year is the right time to try a different meeting location and setting.
Hearing fresh messages and increasing your group of supportive peers who understand your journey can help you as you progress. In addition, reassess the people who you spend time with and who influence your life. If you find yourself returning to old hangouts or people you used with, or if there are people in your life who aren’t supportive of your sobriety, now is the perfect time to make a plan to set strong, healthy boundaries.
In addition to reassessment, it is natural to want to set some new goals for yourself as the new year begins. One of the best ways to create goals that stick is to use the acronym “SMART”. Let’s dig deeper into SMART goals and other healthy tips for people living in recovery during new year s:
Choosing goals that are broad or vague are more than likely to not get accomplished. Instead choose something specific. Here are a few examples: Instead of saying ‘I want to lose weight or get healthier,’ say ‘I want to lose 10 pounds in X amount of time’, or ‘I am going to read X amount of books on diet and nutrition in order to create a healthier food plan’. Choosing a specific goal helps you focus solely on the task at hand.
Keeping goals measurable is also important because it gives you an endpoint that you are trying to reach. Maybe you want to attend more meetings in the new year , so be sure to set a weekly numerical goal for yourself. Perhaps you want to read more books or get to the gym more – again, set a specific, measurable goal that you can aim for.
No matter what goals you set for yourself, make sure they are attainable, so you aren’t left feeling disappointed. If you haven’t read a book in years, don’t set a goal right off the bat of reading five a month. Likewise, if you aren’t someone who typically goes to the gym but wants to strengthen his or her body, set a realistic goal of attendance for each week – perhaps one or two sessions per week in the beginning.
Another important aspect of goal setting is the relevancy the goal has to your life and needs. Sure, getting healthier and exercising more are popular goals across the board for new year’s, but maybe that is not what you need right now. Perhaps there was a step in the 12-Step process that you want to revisit, or maybe you stopped seeing your counselor and feel like you were making progress and need to return. Determine the goals that are relevant for your needs and move forward with these.
No matter what goals you set for yourself, they should be given a realistic and attainable timeframe. When things do not have an end date, we can lose our drive and enthusiasm to complete them because there is less of a motivating factor. Don’t expect to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, or become proficient at a new skill overnight. This added stress isn’t good for anyone, especially those in recovery. Give yourself ample time to reach your goals and enjoy the process on your way to the finish line.
While these are just a few healthy tips for people living in recovery during New Year's, perhaps one of your goals for this new season is to begin your journey on the road to recovery. At Garden Heights Recovery, our holistic rehabilitation program, trauma-informed curriculum and leading behavioral health team can help you break free from addiction and lead the sober life you are longing for.
Reach out to an addiction specialist today at (877) 649-0440 and learn more about our treatment options today!
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