If you are in recovery, you have already taken the most important step of your life. Now that 2021 has arrived, you may be making inspirational resolutions concerning your life in the coming year. However, to maintain your sobriety and thrive in recovery, it is more useful to set specific, attainable goals than rely on more general New Year’s resolutions.
Resolutions are broad generalizations that can lead to unrealistic expectations. You may resolve to “remain sober” or “be healthier” and other vague promises. But unless you specifically plan how to achieve those promises, you may find your chances for success are diminished.
Rather than simply resolving to stay sober in the new year and leaving it at that, set specific steps you will take to maintain your sobriety.
The Danger of Unrealistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations inevitably lead to frustration and disappointment, which can threaten your sobriety. If you make a resolution to stay sober but fail to work a plan with specific steps guiding you there, you are likely to succumb to stress, pressure, and disillusionment.
Unrealistic expectations are often unfulfilled, which may cause you to give up, deciding it is too difficult to remain sober. Building strong, long-term sobriety takes a lot of work. If you expect the journey to be easy now that you have completed a rehabilitation program, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Accept that recovery is a long-term process. As you set and achieve goals that are small yet significant, you are instilling positive lifestyle changes that will permanently enrich your life.
Set Realistic Goals
Set your goals, understanding that you do not have to be perfect. Allow yourself the leeway to adjust your plan when necessary. Do not take on too much. Rather, build your goals week by week. As you successfully integrate one healthy lifestyle change into your life, add another.
Develop a recovery plan that lists your goals for the next year, as well as the specific steps you will take to keep on track.
Consider the following areas to include in your plan.
- Physical wellness: exercise, nutrition, water intake, and preventive health visits.
- Mental wellness: stress reduction techniques, meditation, mindfulness, inspirational readings, practicing gratitude, limiting negative news, movies, and readings.
- Avoid triggers: planning strategies to avoid people, places, events, and activities that have triggered past addictive behavior.
- Create a sober network: connect with other sober people through support groups, sober events, and new interests and hobbies.
- Nurture your spiritual side: this may be prayer, mindfulness practice, creative expression, or another practice.
Remember to break down broad goals into achievable steps. For example, if you have an overall goal of mental wellness, you may plan to start with a yoga class once a week and mindfulness practice two times a week, adding other practices over time.
By making sobriety your priority every day, you are likely to achieve long-term success.
Turning Point of Tampa has offered Licensed Residential Treatment for Addiction, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987.