The New Year is a time of change and new beginnings. For those in recovery, the New Year can be a great time to reevaluate goals and accomplishments and create new plans for the future. A New Year’s resolution is a common tradition among many people. It is also a powerful recovery tool for those continuing to overcome substance use disorder (SUD). 

While this time can be wrought with its own stresses and challenges for sobriety, it can also be a great time of transformation. Utilizing a New Year’s resolution as a recovery tool can ensure that individuals are taking their first steps into 2023 with the right sober mindset and goals. 

The Role of a New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s resolutions are a common tradition in many households. Creating goals to eat healthier, exercise more, or pursue professional advancement are all common resolutions that individuals may make as they set goals for the year to come. 

However, genuinely committing to a resolution is also tricky. Many of these resolutions become compromised or forgotten as the year progresses. Personal and professional distractions or simply the stresses of daily life can all cause an individual to lose sight of these goals. 

Understanding the powerful role that a resolution can play in sobriety can empower those in recovery to focus more on creating an effective resolution. Resolutions are only as impactful as an individual makes them. Likewise, taking a New Year’s resolution seriously can have many positive effects on an individual’s overall recovery. 

For many, resolutions can serve as the next steps that they can take in their sobriety journey. Looking back on accomplishments and challenges throughout 2022 can be a powerful moment of reflection. Taking time to sit with peers and support to acknowledge accomplishments is often the first step toward setting achievable goals for the year to come. 

Likewise, having a clear resolution for an individual’s sobriety throughout 2023 can provide the necessary structure and direction for their actions. By setting an overarching, year-long goal, an individual can adjust their coping strategies, daily and weekly goals, and even mentality to better prepare themselves for the stresses and change that 2023 may bring. 

Setting an Effective New Year’s Resolution

Not all New Year’s resolutions are equal. Learning to set effective goals for the year to come is paramount for an individual’s long-term sobriety. Unfair, unrealistic, or overly grandiose goals can have drastic effects on an individual’s motivation and emotional health. This can cause an individual to feel like they are somehow “failing” in their pursuits.

Likewise, easily achievable goals can stifle the development of more personalized and effective recovery strategies. Setting effective goals is a  necessary skill throughout any stage of recovery. Learning to apply these skills to develop an effective New Year’s resolution can ensure that an individual is beginning the next stage of their personal recovery journey with clear, effective, and achievable goals.

Look Back on Successes

There is nothing easy about recovery. Even after one has navigated detox and residential care through a center for alcohol and drug treatment and is working to balance their personal life and sobriety, new stresses can always manifest. 

Taking time to look back on progress can ensure that an individual can recognize how far they have truly come. Looking back on previous goals can help an individual best understand the next step they may want to take while reinforcing their motivation to continue navigating the challenges of recovery.

Make Resolutions Possible

Staying realistic is crucial. This may be the first New Year for many in sobriety. Likewise, individuals may have many goals and ideas for their future. Setting goals that are feasible within a year is important. While some may want to achieve a promotion in their professional life, setting goals like “becoming CEO” can be detrimental. 

Unrealistic goals can negatively impact an individual’s mental health, causing them to feel as if they have somehow “failed.” Making resolutions possible can help mitigate unnecessary anxiety, depression, and other self-destructive feelings. 

Measure Success

A resolution should be measurable. This means an individual will be able to recognize when they have accomplished a goal or are actively working to accomplish it. Ambiguous goals like “eating better” can be dangerous and tricky. Likewise, this goal is not measurable. 

Instead, putting measurable components into the same goal can make a huge difference. Setting a resolution to “eat a fresh salad once a day” gives an individual more direction and a clearer way to gauge their progress. 

Have Secondary Goals

A New Year’s resolution is an overarching goal that should motivate other goals, not be the finale of an individual’s ambitions. Setting a resolution for the coming year can help an individual set smaller daily and weekly goals that can help them move closer to their resolution. This can give an individual a more direct structure for their day-to-day life and continuous reinforcement of motivation. 

Write It Down

Making a New Year’s resolution and sharing it with friends, family, and peers on New Year’s day is a great act of commitment. However, it is important to remind oneself of these resolutions at any time of the year. Writing down the resolution and putting it on a wall, desk, or on a piece of paper in one’s wallet can remind an individual of their goals. Additionally, doing so can ensure that an individual is acting in accordance with whatever their ambition may be for 2023 in their daily life.

The New Year can mark a truly transformative time for those continuing to navigate their recovery efforts. We at Hawaii Island Recovery are ready to help you start the year off right. We understand the challenges that alumni face each and every day. Our continued outpatient programs, as well as professional support, can help you create effective resolutions and goals for the year to come. From our effective rehab in Hawaii to our connections across the country, we can help you find the best support to continue facilitating your healthy, sober life. For more information on how we can support you throughout the new year and beyond, call us today at (866) 390-5070.