As the dawn of a new year approaches, you’ve probably given some thought to some changes you’d like to make for the coming year. For many of us, the New Year’s resolution is a chance to start fresh, wave goodbye to our bad habits, and transform our lifestyle with the simple flick of the reset switch. But committing to (and keeping) those resolutions can prove to be a unique challenge, especially for those struggling with substance abuse.
If you’re looking to make some healthy changes in the coming year, it may be a good idea to first reflect on the practicality of your own expectations. For example, if 2018 is going to be the year to tackle your alcohol addiction, it’s unlikely that you’ll achieve full sobriety by the time you wake up on January 1st. Sadly, this gung-ho mentality lands more than ninety percent of resolution hopefuls in failure by the end of week three.
The key to creating a successful New Year’s resolution is to be realistic and take small steps toward reaching the larger goal. Whether it be to conquer addiction, quit smoking, or lose weight, it’s going to be a process that will need to be managed over time, and there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.
Break It Down
Rather than looking at your resolution as one heaping goliath-of-a-goal, break it down into sub-goals or milestones to keep up your momentum and celebrate your progress. If weight loss is your goal, eliminate fast food the first month and add an exercise regimen for month two. Each milestone will give you time to gradually adapt to a healthy lifestyle that will, eventually, get you to your goal.
Do It Together
Find someone with the same, or similar, goals to hold you accountable. Working through the challenge together can be a great way to receive support and motivation. Try telling a trusted friend or family member about your goals and ask them to be your partner through it. As milestones are reached, celebrate your successes together with a healthy reward like a spa day or a fishing trip. Of course, if you’re planning on taking steps to manage drug dependency, finding a friend with the same goals may not be plausible—consider a treatment professional or doctor instead.
Don’t Give Up Hope
Realistically, slip-ups happen. The important thing here is not to abandon your entire goal when they do. Remember that this is a journey and people make mistakes. When this happens, it may set you back a few steps, but pick right back up and continue moving forward. Do not accept this as defeat or a reason to give up on your goal.
Remember that choosing a goal for the new year is easy, but building a lifestyle to achieve it is the key to success. Be courageous, persistent, and patient, as you take steps toward building a healthier lifestyle in the new year.