8 Recovery-Friendly Resolutions That Are Actually Worth It This Year
Every year, we all have an opportunity to make changes in our lives. And if you’re in recovery, this might be something you’re used to – change is process that’s integral to recovery.
But as a person in recovery, you also know that change takes time – and hard work. So as the season of New Year’s Resolutions is upon us, here are a few recovery-friendly resolutions you can use to make healthy changes at work, at home or in your personal life.
#1 Make Gratitude a Priority
Gratitude is one of the primary principles of recovery. Said best by Melody Beattie, “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
When you’re grateful, you’ll have a better perspective and outlook on life. When we lose sight of what we’re thankful for, it’s easy to let bitterness creep in. Make this year a gratitude-filled year and see how it benefits you on the job, at home, and in your relationships with friends and family.
Put it into practice: Try a daily gratitude practice. Think about what you’re grateful for and make time for a gratitude moment each morning or try writing down your gratitude in a journal each day. If you had a bad day, running through your list of gratitude can help you keep things in perspective and go into a new day with a calm, clear mind.
#2 Take Up a New Hobby or Activity
Boredom isn’t helpful. If you notice you got bored last year or have extra, idle time coming up, try taking on a new hobby or challenge. It’s likely that your friends in recovery might be feeling the same way – and hey, who doesn’t like having fun? Take the initiative and create a fun activity your friend group can enjoy – or try something solo.
Put it into practice: Start or join an intramural sport league, start or join a book club, or take a class just for fun. There’s always more to do and more to learn – and taking on a new hobby is a great way to break free from status quo resolutions. They don’t all have to be health related!
#3 Grow Your Roots
It’s one thing to have sober friends; it’s another thing to value them. This year, try to strengthen and deepen your connections within your recovery community. This might mean adding new friendships or simply prioritizing existing ones. But the more your sober support network strengthens, the more you’ll enjoy recovery and have support when life gets tough.
Put it into practice: Take someone you’ve wanted to get to know out for coffee. Ask them about their recovery, what’s worked for them, or how you can support them. Learn to listen and become a better friend or support person.
#4 Tackle Physical Health Concerns
It’s common to add ‘losing weight’ to your list of resolutions, but physical health is so much more than that. When struggling with addiction, many people put their health on the back burner, neglecting basic needs or neglecting to care for certain medical conditions. Now that you’re in recovery, it’s time to change this and acknowledge your body’s unique needs.
Put it into practice: Start taking vitamins, start working out, make small changes to eat healthier and in moderation, and if you’re able to – schedule a visit with your primary care doctor for a check-up. Start viewing yourself as a whole being. Your body and mind are connected, and the healthier you are, the better you’ll feel – body, spirit and mind.
#5 Address Your Mental Health
Whether you have a formal mental health diagnosis or haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, take your mental health seriously this year. What mental health means to you lives on a spectrum. For some, prioritizing mental health might mean getting more sleep or taking a day off, and for others it may mean trying new medications for a formal diagnosis. Either way, keeping your mental and emotional health strong will help you live a more balanced, healthy life this year – and can provide you with the clarity and happiness you’re looking for.
Put it into practice: If you haven’t been feeling like yourself lately, start with reflection. Try journaling, taking a day off, or trying a new self-care activity – like getting a massage or going on a nature walk. If you’re concerned about an existing diagnosis or are interested in a mental health evaluation, make an appointment with a therapist, life coach or psychiatrist. In the meantime, try meditating – it has many brain benefits and can take as a little as five minutes.
#6 Ditch the Resentments
It’s easy to get bitter. If you’ve been harboring bitterness or resentments, it’s time to let go this year. Holding a grudge only holds you back. The most pleasant people to be around have positive attitudes, and resentments cause us to slip into negative thinking – so go forward into a new year with a new mindset.
Put it into practice: Make a list of the resentments you’ve been carrying. Talk to your recovery coach, sponsor or a good friend about what you can do to get rid of them in 2018. It might mean having coffee to talk through a conflict, or just venting to a friend, but you’ll be amazed at the power of talking it out. And when you move forward? You’ll have more brain space for healthy relationships, new memories and quality time with people that matter.
#7 Ask for Help When You Need It
For many people, asking for help is viewed as a sign of weakness. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Asking for help is a sign of strength, confidence and humility. Whether you need help getting sober for the first time, need help finding a new job, or even need help on a small project, make it a priority to ask. And don’t worry – this is a lesson many people need to learn over and over throughout their lives and time in recovery. Saying yes to humility this year will help you grow each day, little by little. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to try.
Put it into practice: Just ask for help. It might feel awkward, scary or unusual if you’re not used to it, but you’ll be surprised at the new lessons it will open up in your life.
#8 Find balance
A common phrase in recovery is to ‘take it one day at a time.’ So doesn’t it seem a little confusing that you’re planning out resolutions at all? Recovery-friendly resolutions shouldn’t be lofty goals you can’t achieve or should expect to achieve in one day. They should simply keep you in balance on a day-to-day basis, while giving you an understanding of where you’re headed. You might also think of your resolutions as your vision for the year.
Put it into practice: Create resolutions for the year with small, attainable steps along the way. And who says all resolutions need to start on January 1st? Try one resolution for the first few months, and then add in another. Staggering your resolutions will help ease the pressure and will help you avoid all or nothing behavior.
This year, focus on being your best every day, whether you follow-through with your resolutions or not. You can start small – and you can always start over. Recovery is about being resilient, and as the popular saying goes, “progress, not perfection.”
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