It is common knowledge that our annual tradition of making New Year’s resolutions has a pretty high failure rate. We humans are wired to take the road of least resistance, so most will eventually succumb to boredom or lack of follow through and throw in the towel by January 31. How does someone in recovery make New Year’s resolutions that will actually stick? Let’s start with choosing resolutions that fit an overarching goal.
How New Year’s resolutions can help you stay on the recovery path
When January 1 arrives, like clockwork, many of us will make a list of things we want to change about our lives. Often these goals are unrelated to each other. For example, we might list resolutions in the following way:
- Eat a healthier diet
- Stay sober
- Travel more
- Paint the master bedroom
- Take piano lessons
When the resolutions are vague or don’t appear to relate to each other, a disjointed list can become an overwhelming chore very quickly. It’s simply not realistic to expect to make huge changes in multiple areas of our lives over the course of a single year.
Try focusing instead on the overall goal of sustaining sobriety. Based on that, create a list of resolutions that not only relate, but also help to advance your recovery goals. By prioritizing your recovery and identifying the positive changes that will help secure it, you increase your chances for success.
5 New Year’s resolutions for people in recovery
With this strategy in mind, the theme for your New Year’s resolutions should be sobriety-centric, with each and every goal related to strengthening recovery. Consider these five New Year’s resolutions for someone in recovery:
- Work on you: We can all stand to improve something about ourselves, if not several things. Pick just one aspect of yourself that you wish to improve upon — maybe managing anger, curbing procrastination tendencies or correcting self-centeredness — and then identify ways to do so. Maybe you commit to weekly therapy, join a support group or start journaling daily to help you reach this goal.
- Look for ways to give back: Helping others can actually benefit both them and you. Look for opportunities to volunteer your time and skill set. Whether it’s helping out at a local charity or tutoring kids after school, there are a multitude of ways to give back. Perform random acts of kindness, too, such as offering to help an elderly neighbor or dropping off canned goods at a food pantry.
- Plan a home improvement project: Don’t allow boredom to threaten your recovery. Take on a project that will demand your attention and perseverance for at least a month. Consider building a backyard barbeque, redecorating the living room or reorganizing the garage — some type of project that keeps you engaged in a pursuit that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
- Commit to getting healthy: One of the best ways to support recovery is to nurture your body back to health. Avoid making a general resolution like “Get healthy in 2023” and instead create a detailed plan. List how many times you will work out each week and what those activities will be. Create a healthy diet and toss out the unhealthy foods before heading out to replace them with healthy items.
- Build your circle of sober friends: The more support you have around you, the better your odds of recovery success. Create a strong support network while staving off loneliness by seeking out opportunities to form new friendships. Make a list of places where you might meet others in recovery, and start checking them out. Before long you will have some new sober friends.
By creating a finely tuned list of New Year’s resolutions, individuals in recovery can improve their quality of life on several fronts while also strengthening sobriety.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call 866-313-6307.