Whether you've made the decision to get sober in the New Year, or you've made a recovery-related resolution, it can feel overwhelming to think about committing to a change for an entire year. (Or, in reality, for good.)
In addiction, all-or-nothing behavior is common, so now that you're on the road to recovery, it's important to be careful not to fall into extremist thinking.
Here's how to tackle your New Year's resolutions in a way that keeps you balanced and actually achieving your goals.
1. Set milestones for yourself.
Although it might seem counterintuitive, rocking recovery one day at a time doesn't mean you can't have long-term goals. In recovery, your vision is clear: staying sober. What's your vision for the year ahead?
Take some time to plan out your goals. But if you set a goal like losing weight, getting a new job, or making amends, remember that lasting change takes time. Making your goals attainable and realistic is the first step to success. And once you have your goals, outline a few milestones or small steps to help you reach those goals.
As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day and your resolutions won't come true overnight. Set your goals for the whole year, and make your milestones attainable. Incremental achievements will feel like small rewards along the way.
2. Say no to setbacks.
Perceived setbacks, that is. When it comes to your New Year's resolution, remember – it's progress not perfection.
So many people ditch their resolution the first time they mess up. If you plan on being perfect, you will fail. So don't make that mistake.
The changes you want to make or goals you want to accomplish in the year ahead will bring with them an ebb and flow of good days and bad days. Decide now that nothing can set you back, not a bad day or even a bad month. If the overall trajectory of your life or behavior is changing, you can always keep at it and get back on track.
3. Stay in check.
Any true change takes time. If you think you'll be done by the end of January, take a moment to challenge that belief. Most people who make real changes in life acknowledge that it's about making lifestyle changes. Put your resolution into perspective and ask yourself a few questions:
Is this realistic?
Is this something I can stick with?
Is this a resolution I'm passionate about?
Is this resolution a fad or something I'll care about all year long?
Perspective will help you better understand what to do next—both when setting goals and managing any setbacks. Perspective is your friend and is the true combatant to all-or-nothing thinking.
Striking a Healthy Balance
Learning the art between extremism and “one day at a time” isn't always easy, especially if it's a new concept in life or in recovery. Your New Year's resolutions are a great place to start challenging the way you view accomplishments, goals and ambitions, so know that you can use the principles of balance and perspective all year round.