Realistic Resolutions During Recovery

Making New Year’s resolutions almost seems like a must-do activity. The pressure to make a new start with the coming year looms every December. Yet only 28 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions are successful when they do so.

And what do you do if you’re in the middle of recovery?

After all, you’ve already made the greatest resolution without a date on the calendar involved. Your decision to overcome your addiction shouldn’t rely on specific timetables.

That being said, resolutions can be really valuable for your recovery journey. Let’s look at some ways goal-setting and mapping out your recovery can be incredibly helpful.

Set the Stage for Victory

The first thing you need to do with your counselor, therapist, or accountability partner is set the goalpost. That’s the key to being realistic. You can’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. Perhaps you’ve identified some triggers. Use them as a basis for setting your bar.

When you’re in recovery, you need to set well-defined goals that give you the opportunity to realize the power of scratching things off the to-do list or ticking off the completion box. This method allows you to set specific milestones that are measurable, attainable, and realistic. Instead of saying, I think I had a great week, you have a solid grasp of what you actually achieved.

You can start small with something like staying sober for one day. Then, it’s two days in a row, three days in a row, etc. 

Every single one you meet is a VICTORY.

Understand Your Motivation with a Vision

You may find it helpful to begin the process of setting realistic resolutions by delving deep and finding out what your motivation is to succeed.

If you can picture the goal, it makes it more attainable.

The human brain is a curious thing. If you give it a direction, it will handle the rest on its own. That’s part of what makes visualization so powerful for athletes.

Your brain will make it happen if you give it the direction.

You may find it helpful to have a picture of what meeting your resolution means to you. Hang it up someplace where you can see it every day. The reminder will reinforce your motivation for success.

Resolve to Get Up and Keep Going After Every Misstep

Few things in life don’t include a misstep or two. Life happens. You can’t control everything. It’s not a reason to throw in the towel. It’s an opportunity to find a solution.

When you’re in recovery, you have to think outside the box and embrace resourcefulness. Have a plan. 

Recruit Your Support Team

You’re going to face obstacles and temptations during recovery. That’s life. However, that doesn’t mean you have to meet these challenges alone.

Recruit the members of your support team. Have two or three people you can contact if staying on point with your resolution is difficult.

Stay Positive

It’s too easy to delve into guilt and self doubt while you’re recovering. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. That doesn’t mean you should stagnate with the muddy waters of negativity.

Grab those small victories and let them fuel your recovery.

Every challenge you meet is a win. Celebrate each one. You are making progress. Habits take time to form. That’s why it’s essential to encourage their formation in the early stages. They often take care of themselves after a while. However, you must give them a jumpstart at the beginning with positivity.

Hanging up a calendar where you can keep track of your positive streaks is an excellent motivator. Make sure to put it someplace that you’ll see every day. Those streaks of positive days will make a powerful impression. 

Final Thoughts About Realistic Resolutions

Guilt is a significant hurdle when dealing with an addiction. Therefore, the foundation of realistic resolutions is to mitigate these negative feelings and hold on to the positive. 

Everyone must create their own road map to success. Resolutions fail when we set sweeping, generalized goals that are often unattainable. Remember to keep your goals realistic and personal, and celebrate every little victory along the way.

About the Author

Paula Nicola, M.D.
Dr. Nicola is the Facility Director at Renu. She is a trained and board certified medical doctor with specialized training in addiction medicine.

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