As the new year begins, it’s a time to reflect on who we want to be and what goals we want to achieve. But for those in addiction recovery, New Year’s resolutions are more than just a fun tradition — they can be an important tool that helps maintain long-term sobriety. To that end, it’s important to set resolutions that are attainable, realistic and have a specific time frame.
To inspire and guide you, Choice House has highlighted a few resolutions that can help you stay on track and lead to another year of successful recovery.
new year’s resolutions for long-term sobriety
set SMART goals
Goal-setting is recommended in nearly all aspects of life to achieve better health and success. Healthcare providers, educators, self-help gurus, life coaches and more all use goal-setting to help people accomplish a number of things, whether it’s losing weight, stopping smoking or managing the symptoms of a chronic disease like diabetes.
However, in these and other instances, goal-setting is more than just saying, “Yeah, I want to do this or that.” Most professionals use the SMART formula, which originated among businessmen in the 80s to better communicate corporate objectives. But it’s catchy and easy to remember, so it’s become more widely adopted since then.
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable
- R: Realistic / Relevant
- T: Timely
Utilizing the SMART method can set you up for success by making your goals more specific, manageable and attainable. It can also provide clear direction by helping you define the most crucial aspects of each goal and what you need to do to stay on course.
discover new hobbies & interests
Living a sober lifestyle requires discovering new activities that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. If you feel like you’re in a rut or you want to try something new, make it one of your New Year’s resolutions to find an exciting hobby, interest or pastime to enjoy. Experiment with different things until you find something that truly sparks joy: it could be taking a cooking class, learning a musical instrument, or joining a local kickball team.
At Choice House, you’ll also have the opportunity to explore and participate in a number of outdoor activities with your sober community. We like to stay connected with regular events, outings and expeditions in the nearby Rocky Mountains, whether it’s downhill skiing or snowshoeing in the winter, catching a football game, or rock climbing and hiking in the summer.
celebrate your successes
How often do you take the time to really celebrate your wins— both big and small? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably: not enough. But life is too short to let these moments pass without acknowledging them, so make it a resolution to pat yourself on the back more frequently for all that you’ve accomplished. You deserve it.
Not only that, but taking the time to recognize your achievements gives you a chance to pinpoint exactly what worked and why, so you can repeat it in the future. Taking pride in your accomplishments and celebrating your successes — even small ones — can also boost your confidence and self-esteem, motivating you to keep going.
cut yourself some slack
Pobody’s nerfect. In fact, aiming for perfection is not realistic or attainable. In life, and especially on the road to recovery, it’s important to remember that missteps, setbacks and mistakes are normal — they don’t mean you’ve failed and certainly shouldn’t discourage you from continuing to strive toward your goals. Everyone has their good and bad days, so cut yourself some slack. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as possible.
If you feel like you’re losing sight of your goals and your sobriety is at risk, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Hopefully, you should have a network of fellow alumni, support groups and others in your corner, ready to keep you accountable and strengthen your resolve.
get involved with your alumni group
Building and maintaining a support system is crucial in the recovery process, especially for those tough days. One way you can do this is by committing to attending groups and meetings on a regular basis. If you haven’t been going to any meetings yet, make it your resolution to find one in your area and attend it at least twice a week. If you already have a regular meeting you attend, consider branching out and trying a different location to expand your support network, or getting together more with your local alumni group.
looking for ways to stay focused?
use the 10-minute rule
Resolutions have a way of overwhelming us before we even get started on them. But instead of trying to devote large chunks of time to tackling your big, lofty goals, make a list of as many resolution-related tasks as you can think of that can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Simple things like sending an email, making a phone call, visiting a website or doing a quick workout would all fit into that time frame. This way, you can focus on making progress little by little, rather than feeling daunted by the larger goal.
make it something you love
If you know you hate the snow, then you probably shouldn’t make it a goal to get into skiing this year. Similarly, too many people make New Year’s resolutions that they dread, like working out more or eating healthier. Instead of (or in addition to) these typical goals, make your resolutions revolve around something you already love or have wanted to try but never really had time for in the past — like gardening, geocaching or reading. You’ll have more fun in the process and be more likely to stick with it.
set mobile reminders
You always have a phone in your hand, so why not use it to help you stay focused on your goals? There are countless web-based calendars, apps and other tools that you can download to set up recurring events or reminders, making it a little harder to “forget” about going to the gym or hitting a meeting with your alumni group.
Whether you’ve been in recovery for 15 minutes or 15 years, it’s important to keep setting attainable, realistic goals for yourself and be proud of all that you have accomplished. At Choice House, we set our clients up for long-term success with the tools and resources needed to achieve everything they set out to do. To learn more about our recovery programs for men on the path to sobriety, contact or call us today at 303-578-4977. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.