Author: Justin Mckibben
Yup… it’s about that time ladies and gentlemen! It’s a New Year… a time to celebrate our successes and remember the times we’ve shared. New Year’s Eve we watch the ball drop, countdown the clock, shoot off the fireworks and prepare for another exciting chapter in life.
Of course there are the “New Year, New Me!” messages you are sure to see all over the place as people set resolutions- some for working out and eating better, others for finding love or a career, my resolution thus far has just been to stay sober another 24 hours- so far, so good.
So why is it so many people set these resolutions and then forget them halfway through February? Some of us will honor this tradition and declare our own New Year’s resolutions to the world… others will resist the urge, brush off the idea and even try to poke fun at it as a pointless exercise- typically the people who gave up on passed resolutions before they even made them.
So we look at these cynics and cross-examine their logic when they ask,
“Why bother to set resolutions if we will probably forget them?”
Resolutions are really just goals we set on January 1st. In recovery we are often told to take it one day at a time, and to accept that we are not in charge of the future… that may be a highly valuable philosophy, but it doesn’t mean setting goals in recovery is wrong. Even in sobriety we are allowed to set standards and achieve the things we strive for. Here are a few reasons why you should keep New Year’s resolutions in recovery.
- Stuff Gets Done
When we make a resolution or set goals, and actually put in the effort, they tend to actually get done!
When we put some work into it and actually commit to a resolution, the things we set out to do get done because we actually treat them like goals that need to be accomplished. If you make a resolution in recovery, you should keep it because it gives you some sense of purpose in your actions.
- Creates Clarity
Goals provide you with a vision and a direction. In sobriety setting resolutions in recovery can give your road through recovery a few travel destinations. Sure this goal isn’t the end of the journey, but its somewhere to set your sights on.
Resolutions create clarity because they give purpose to actions. Without goals in recovery we risk wasting your resources feeling disorganized and overwhelmed, which can lead to risky behaviors or other bad habits seeking to get outside of self.
In recovery you have an opportunity to reach for things you never thought possible, so set a resolution to see more clearly what you want in your life.
- Shows Progress
Setting a resolution itself can show progress for those of us in recovery because it shows us that we are no longer accepting the old self-destructive standards we lived by. Being active and taking initiative shows that we are willing to work for a better life, and having goals and reaching them is a good measurement of where we are headed and how far we have come.
Progress in every facet of life happens when people set, pursue, and achieve goals. “Progress not Perfection,” right?
Plus, when we go to help others who are struggling we can give examples of how we set out to accomplish things in life, and how recovery allowed us to make those dreams happen.
- They Give Us Purpose
When I was using and drinking life had no purpose… I get to live my life today with meaning and passion because setting goals helped me find a purpose. A New Year’s resolution may not be the pivotal point of your purpose, but it can reinforce the pattern that fulfills your life in recovery.
Goals give our lives purpose, and purpose is the reason for why we seek any outcome at all in life.
Underneath every resolution is an idea of our true self and what we want out of our lives. Maybe the thing you want isn’t the meaning of your life, but maybe ‘A’ gets you closer to ‘B’ which ultimately opens the door to ‘C’ and that is what you wanted all along.
After all, resolution is a synonym for purpose.
Purpose is what motivates us and moves us to take action. In recovery, having a purpose after living a life of hopelessness and feeling empty can be the difference between staying sober or losing sight of why sobriety matters.
Remember- the first day of 2016 can be the first day of a whole new life. Realistically, any day can be a new beginning if we choose to make it so. Never forget the power of your purpose, and how putting your drive and determination behind your desires can help move your recovery. Maybe your resolution just has to be to make the choice to take the steps to make a change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135