New Year’s Resolutions Good for Recovery?

For many people, a new year brings with it a clean slate—a fresh chance to make some significant personal changes. That’s what the New Year’s resolution process is all about—resolving to change your life in some way, big or small, that will transform you into a happier, healthier, or more productive person.

For those in addiction recovery, the concept of resolutions can be muddy. There are pros and cons to making resolutions—and ultimately, it all comes down to you, your needs, and the type of resolution you want to make.

Where Resolutions Go Wrong

There is nothing wrong with making resolutions, but it is possible to make resolutions that are unhealthy. Generally, when resolutions are overly lofty or ambitious, that’s what causes harm.

You may resolve to never even think about drinking again; or, you may bite off more than you can chew, resolving to start exercising and eating better and reading more and watching less TV, all while remaining sober.

In either case, you’re setting the bar very high—and if you don’t live up to the lofty expectations you set for yourself, it could leave you demoralized. In some cases, this can lead to relapse.

Making Smarter Resolutions

Of course, you can make smart, meaningful resolutions—ones that lead to positive change without putting on too much pressure. Here are some suggestions:

  • Instead of shooting straight for the end goal, aim for smaller steps. For instance, if you ultimately want to lose 30 pounds, start with a simple resolution to cut out soda, or to walk for half an hour each day.
  • Take time to congratulate yourself for the progress you make, and to celebrate milestones along the way.
  • Know that there will be setbacks and that this does not mean you’re a failure. Talk to your therapist about how you can put a relapse prevention plan in place, ensuring these setbacks aren’t detrimental to your recovery.

By all means, take advantage of the new year to facilitate some positive change. Just be sure you’re wise about it.

Reach out to Get Real Recovery to learn more about addiction recovery.

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