“New Year, new me.” That’s what people all over the country tell themselves as January 1st approaches. We set up resolutions for ourselves in hopes of improving our overall well-being. The truth is that New Year’s resolutions are overdone, and are often bigger than what a person might realistically achieve. There’s nothing wrong with setting your sights high, but statistically, most New Year resolutions will crumble within the first few weeks of January, leaving you feeling like a complete failure.
If you are in early recovery, chances are you already have a lot on your plate. Adding a resolution that is not attainable can be dangerous for your motivation and progress. Instead of setting a New Year’s resolution that has the potential to fail or add undue pressure to your life, consider following these guidelines to help you increase your chances of success:
Make an Action Plan of Short-Term Goals
By creating an action plan, you can break down your work towards a specific goal into specific steps and parameters. As you focus on smaller steps, you’ll find your ultimate goal becoming more achievable. Setting up broad goals for yourself to achieve for the entire year creates unnecessary pressure that works against your ability to succeed.
When creating your action plan, focus on something you want to work towards over a short amount of time, such as a week or a month, and progress from there. Once you decide on your short-term goal, you can set up the rest of your action plan. This can include how you plan on accomplishing this goal when you want to accomplish this goal, and how confident you are that you will accomplish this goal.
Making Sure Your Plan Will Work
While coming up with resolutions for your new year can be fun, sticking to those resolutions is going to require you to put in hard work. If your resolution is to stay sober for a week, your “how” may include things like attending meetings on specific days, or increasing the number of times you check in with your sponsor. By setting up a definitive time frame, you are creating accountability that can help motivate you.
On the same note, as you’re establishing your “when”, try not to focus on the entire year. If you are in early recovery, it’s recommended that you concentrate on smaller time frames. There is no shame in setting up short-term goals and sticking to them.
Conquering goals builds self-confidence. It also reinforces the positive behavior changes you’ll be making in your life. When you’re forming your action plan, ask yourself how confident you truly feel about achieving a resolution. If you’re harboring a lot of doubt, reevaluate your plan, or adjust it to make it more achievable. A plan is only as valuable as your ability to see it through.
Identify Your Motivations
Sometimes we create goals for ourselves because we feel pressure from outside sources. If you are not ready to start working towards a goal, don’t. Do not put yourself in a situation that you are not ready for just to make someone else feel good. If this is a change that you think you might be ready for, consider doing a cost/benefit analysis. If you find that the costs of the old behavior outweigh the benefits, then you may be ready to start working towards this change. The more motivated you are about this goal, the more likely you are to successfully achieve it.
Set One Resolution At A Time
Focus on one resolution at a time. We can be quick to overextend ourselves in so many areas of our life. If you’re not careful, setting up New Year’s resolutions can be a time that you pile too much on your plate by creating a long list of goals that you want to achieve. Changing behavior requires dedicated willpower and patience, and needs room for grace. If you are working on multiple goals at the same time, the chances are greater that you’ll exhaust and overexert yourself. Slow down, stay focused, and allow yourself to be dedicated to one new resolution at a time.
Above All, Be Realistic
Most New Year’s resolutions fail so quickly because people set unrealistic goals for themselves. Losing weight or quitting smoking are great resolutions with obvious benefits. Unfortunately, neither one can solve all your problems. If you are putting a resolution in place in hopes for it to solve all your problems, chances are you are going to be disappointed. Keep your focus on the specific benefits you hope to gain from making that change, rather than letting your mind get stuck on the problems that remain.
The New Year is a time for celebrations. It’s a time when many people choose to create resolutions for themselves to become healthier, both mentally and physically. Some people resolve to be more productive in their personal or professional lives. Whatever resolution you set in motion for yourself this New Year, it’s important to remember to not overexert yourself. Do not set up multiple resolutions for yourself or create resolutions that do not truly motivate you. Focus on creating a solid action plan that identifies your ‘how’ and your ‘when’, and be honest about how confident you are in your chances at success. Following these guidelines will help you put together the resolutions that are most important to you while keeping your resolutions specific and achievable. If your New Year’s resolution is to reduce or eliminate addictive behavior, choose Everlast Recovery Center. We’re here to help you form your plan and meet your goals. Call 866-DETOX-25 to learn more.