For many, the New Year can be more of a reminder of old resolutions than a time for new ones. While the idea of new year’s resolutions can be put to effective use, many people take things a few steps too far and come across the problem of planning to bite off more than they can chew. There is a way to make your resolutions truly stick – and it can help completely change your fight against addiction, and help you follow your resolution to kick addiction.
When we write down resolutions that are vague, lofty, or completely unrealistic, we simply set ourselves up for failure. And when the year ends and a new one begins, the failure to do all the things you planned to do can crush your motivation to repeat what might feel like a pointless exercise.
Making your new year’s resolutions stick is a matter of taking a few steps to ensure that they’re more than platitudes, but real plans to change some part of your life within realistic parameters. We’re not meant to reinvent ourselves every year, and it’s rare to see someone completely change their life over the course of a few months – but you can take steps to become someone better, and make real progress with a resolution to kick addiction.
Make A Written Resolution To Kick Addiction
Any successful endeavor starts small, and in the case of a resolution to kick addiction, it all begins with something as simple as committing to your decision to go clean, and defeat your addiction.
It’s important that your resolution to kick addiction becomes your main goal, and not just staying sober. Sobriety is easy to break. And for many, suffering relapses early in the recovery journey is part of the process to reaching a stable, long-term abstinence, and finally kicking the habit. If you’re going to hinge your success on never relapsing, you make things harder for yourself.
On the other hand, the spirit is much tougher and stronger. If you commit to fighting your addiction for as long as it’ll take for you to be completely in control again, then you never get an excuse to give up, and let the addiction win.
Write down a succinct, concrete resolution to kick addiction, and post it somewhere you see it every single day.
Get A Support Group
Support can come from many places, and in many forms. You could seek the help of your family, coming clean on past mistakes and announcing your commitment to quitting – while needing help with it. You could look towards your friends, and ask them to stand by your side when times get tough, and keep you disciplined, motivated and on the right track. Or you could find new friends, and make new connections, through the Internet and by visiting local support groups and treatment centers.
When it comes to things like a resolution to kick addiction, anybody on a mission of their own needs all the help they can get. While it’s true that addiction is something everyone must confront and overcome themselves, having people in your corner can make a massive difference.
Set Other Goals
The key to fulfilling your new year’s resolution to kick addiction, is by picking up other habits. It can be hard to find a concrete goalpost in addiction recovery, unless you’re specifically counting the weeks and months – and even then, when you pour your effort simply towards reaching a certain date, what happens afterwards? Figuring out a healthy way to reward yourself and track your progress during addiction recovery can be incredibly hard, since the reward pathway in the brain is what addiction targets and warps.
However, there is a way to get around this and properly take advantage of the new year: set other manageable goals. Challenge yourself to go to the gym more often, and not just arbitrarily, but following a certain regimen. Either aim to lose a low amount of weight within a certain time period, or try and learn to do something you once could do, but now struggle with. Alternatively, pick a skill and learn or refine it, especially if it’s something you put off or have had trouble with for the longest time. The payoff for the effort itself will be a reward, and with other goals, you’ll find time flying past you much quicker.
Tackle The Year Change By Change
One mistake many people make is tacking too many resolutions onto their year all at once – and then trying to blast through them all. The key to really sticking to your plan is by sticking to your plan, and that starts with having a good one.
Even focusing on just two goals at a time can be a bad idea, depending on how much time and energy your goals will take. Instead, focus on changing one aspect of your life, and reaching one goal, before getting to the next.
If part of your overarching plan to defeat your addiction includes making new friends and learning new hobbies, then it can be simple enough to combine the two resolutions. If, however, your first goal is to learn conversational Spanish, and your second goal is to lose excess weight, then splitting your effort can greatly diminish your returns over time. Focus all your energy on one major, difficult goal, then move onto the next.
Relapse Isn’t Failure
Relapse is defined as any time when someone who is quitting an addiction uses again, even if only once. For some, this is unacceptable – and the shame and guilt that a relapse can potentially bring them is sometimes enough to create a cycle of more negativity and a stronger addiction.
Overcoming an addiction can only be done through positivity. While there are many reasons people struggle with addiction, it ultimately becomes the most potent coping mechanism a person has access to. With negative emotions, the attachment to drastic coping mechanisms like drug use becomes stronger. But by focusing on the bright side, by developing your discipline not through self-punishment and self-loathing but through finding reasons to enjoy a sober life, and continuously return to and long for a life without addiction, you’ll be guaranteed to stop relapses from occurring with time.
Simply put: if you beat yourself up too much about your losses, you’ll never see them as opportunities to learn how to win.