Here comes a new year, and with it comes the opportunity to make some resolutions that will strengthen your recovery during 2018. You may be tempted to simply resolve to stay sober during the new year, but that’s the kind of generalized resolution that’s tough to keep. A single overwhelming goal for the new year can make it hard to achieve, according to the American Psychological Association. Smaller, more realistic resolutions that involve incorporating healthy changes into your everyday life are easier to attain. 1
Here are five excellent resolutions that are attainable on a daily basis and will promote successful long-term recovery.
1. Resolve to take excellent care of yourself.
A high level of self-care is essential for successful recovery. 2 Taking good care of yourself means eating healthy food each day, getting enough sleep each night and exercising most days of the week. But self-care isn’t just about diet, exercise and sleep. It also means taking time to relax and enjoy life and believing that you deserve to treat yourself with compassion and kindness.
2. Resolve to attend support group meetings.
Making a commitment to attend support group meetings on a regular basis—ideally every day—can help you maintain a high level of personal accountability well into the new year. Your support group provides help when you need it, and it gives you the opportunity to help other people going through similar circumstances. A support group provides daily inspiration and motivation to stay sober, and it helps to keep recovery in the forefront of your mind.
3. Resolve to be honest.
Honesty is essential for successful recovery. Lying to yourself and others about how you’re feeling and what you’re thinking is an important sign of emotional relapse, which is the first stage of relapse. Truthfulness in all things helps you stay more keenly aware of your thought and behavior patterns, and it promotes sobriety for the long-term.
4. Resolve to ask for help.
Not asking for help when you need it is a surefire recipe for relapse. Whether you need physical help—such as a ride to a meeting or a babysitter that allows you a much-needed break from the kids—or emotional support during a difficult time, asking for it ensures you get the exact kind of support you need to maintain good mental health and ongoing sobriety.
5. Resolve to enjoy sobriety.
Finding ways to relax and have fun without drugs or alcohol promotes ongoing recovery by helping you enjoy your life. Every day, strive to do something that brings you genuine pleasure, whether engaging in a hobby, spending quality time with the people you love or enjoying the simple pleasures of life, such as a delicious meal or a really good book.
Tips for Making Your Resolutions Stick
Making New Year’s resolutions stick is the biggest challenge for most of us. In the beginning, we’re strong and committed to our resolutions, but over time, we often lose sight of our goals and begin slacking off a bit. To keep your resolutions fresh in your mind, write them down. Every morning, read through your resolutions, and think about what you can do that day to honor them.
Taking it day by day—and being gentle with yourself when you experience a setback—will lead to permanent changes that promote sobriety for the long-term.