The new year is a time for celebration and renewed hope. It’s also a time when many people put new resolutions into place.
How will you celebrate the new year? Making resolutions is a good fit when you’re in recovery. Let’s explore recovery resolutions that can help you stay sober and give you a more rewarding and fulfilling life.
Take a Look Back
First, take a look back at all the accomplishments you’ve made in the past year. You’re in recovery—that’s a major accomplishment—and it took a lot of hard work to get there.
- Bask in the success of how a daily commitment to remaining sober built a new life.
- Look back with pride at any of the struggles you conquered, the milestones you achieved and the relationships you healed.
- Recognize that your daily commitment was successful so far, and this approach will still be with you as you enter a new year.
Resolve to Keep Doing What Works
Once you understand what has worked well in maintaining your sobriety, you can make a resolution to keep it up! Write down what has worked well, and make a commitment to keep those things going in your life in the upcoming year. Regular journaling helps keep track of what’s most effective.
Resolve to Work on One Bad Habit at a Time
Rather than making a long, exhaustive list of all the things you’d like to fix about yourself, pick one bad habit and concentrate on it. Choose something that has been bothering you, like your anger at bad drivers or saying “yes” when you want to say “no.” (1) If you focus on one bad habit at a time, it’s easier to tackle another one once you’ve reached your goal. Don’t forget to reward yourself for success, it’s good motivation to keep moving forward.
Resolve to Be Patient with Yourself
To repeat a well-worn phrase, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and changes won’t happen instantly either. Make a resolution to be patient with yourself. You’ve come far in recovery, so treat yourself well by not being too hard on yourself—instead have patience. When the negative self-talk starts, shut it down. It does much more harm than good.
Resolve to Forgive Yourself More
Closely related to patience is forgiveness. Both give a renewed sense of peace, and that’s a perfect fit for the renewal we associate with a new year.
Forgiveness is a tough concept for many. (2) That’s because it’s hard to confront an issue and forgive, especially if it’s yourself that needs forgiving. You may deride yourself for setting goals and not meeting them, or regret how you treated people in the past, especially before you entered recovery. Forgive yourself, and stop the anger over things you wish you’d done differently. No matter how much you rehash events, it won’t change what happened.
When you practice positive retrospection, patience and self-forgiveness and eliminate the negative self-talk, you set the stage for major accomplishments in the upcoming year.
Have a Happy (Sober) New Year!