New Year’s Day is traditionally a time for fresh starts and new resolutions. But what goals should you focus on for successful recovery? When you’re deciding on your own resolutions for the new year, the following simple tips can help you to set goals that will strengthen your sobriety.
Private vs. Public Resolutions
Like everyone else, there are some resolutions you’d like to keep private, and some you’ll have no problem sharing with others. For private resolutions, try keeping a journal to document your progress and to examine any setbacks or challenges along the way.
Make a Plan
New Year’s resolutions can be healthy steps toward improving yourself, but be sure that they aren’t based on wishful thinking or unrealistic goals. Ground your resolutions in plans of action, so they can be implemented and don’t simply remain thoughts. Creating actionable steps toward the ultimate goal make it much more likely that you’ll succeed.
Set Realistic Goals
Rome wasn’t built in a day; keep your New Year’s resolutions realistic.1 A person who wants to enter recovery shouldn’t expect sobriety to be instant or easy to achieve. You should set achievable goals that are broken down into steps that can be accomplished in realistic time periods.
Take Small Steps
When you’re developing an action plan to meet your realistic goals, break down the plan into small steps. If your goal is to enroll in college, you could break that down into steps that involve contacting the financial aid office, identifying which courses you would like to take and speaking with a student advisor. Smaller steps make reaching your goals more manageable, and steps make it easier to track your progress.
Take It Slow
Setting a frantic pace to accomplish your goals won’t serve you well. Rushing it could cause you undue stress and ultimately make it harder for you to accomplish your resolutions. Take it one day at a time.
Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People
Join a group where the members have the same goals in mind as you do, such as improving your health or practicing mindfulness. You’re most likely already attending a support group, but branch out if you feel it will help you meet your New Year’s resolutions. Online groups are a great resource that’s conveniently accessible any time of day, so find some that match the goals you’re looking to accomplish and start participating.
Track Your Progress
Once you’ve implemented your action plans, be sure to track your progress. Write down each time you’ve completed one of your steps. Review and assess how you’re doing on a weekly basis, or more frequently if needed. If you’re using a group or have a friend you’re partnered with in your resolution quests, schedule regular check-ins.
Treat Yourself with Compassion
Always practice self-compassion.2 Don’t be harsh or unkind with yourself, especially if you don’t hit the targets you were aiming for. Try not to become upset or depressed if you fall short of your goals; you are only human after all. Dust yourself off, treat yourself compassionately and assess why your plan didn’t turn out how you expected. The love you show yourself will help you re-orient toward meeting your goals successfully.