Settling goals can help you in many areas of life. They can help you achieve personal, career, relationship, and recovery growth. However, spending too much time obsessing over what could or should be can become overwhelming. During your recovery from substance use disorder (SUD), you will learn how to balance planning for the future with living in the moment. You can do this by taking your recovery one day at a time.
Recovery involves an overhaul in lifestyle changes which can be overwhelming and intimidating. However, lifestyle changes don't happen overnight. They happen when you practice healthy habits consistently.
By focusing on implementing these healthy habits one day at a time, you take off the pressure to be perfect. Every day is a new start. If you decide to make good choices today, you are building a better future for yourself. This is true regardless of your successes or failures the day before. Soon, your healthy choices will become habits, you'll become more and more comfortable incorporating them into your routine.
Setting your goals too high can be dangerous to your recovery. Unrealistic expectations can lead to negative self-talk when you don't progress as quickly as you'd hoped. This can deplete your motivation to continue investing in your recovery goals.
When you set realistic expectations for yourself, you give yourself room to fail which will prevent discouragement. The more realistic your goals are, the more likely you are to achieve them.
No one is perfect. When this much change is involved, failure will happen to some level or another. This is true regardless of how high you set your goals. However, when you take recovery one day at a time, the failures of yesterday are prevented from becoming a negative spiral that affects the days to come. Each new day is a fresh start. In fact, each new hour is a fresh start!
After all, when your feel unobtainable, it's easy to talk yourself out of trying to achieve them. Of course, this doesn't mean you shouldn't set lofty goals. It simply means that you should break your goals into realistic actionable objectives. These objectives should be items you can act on now and can accomplish daily.
Remember: all progress takes time. Your recovery growth will happen in gradual increments as you practice healthy behaviors. Unfortunately, it's easy to become frustrated and feel like you aren't making process. One way you can practice self-care is by making time to recount your progress. No amount of progress is too small. It all adds up and makes a difference.
The practice of mindfulness is essential for taking your recovery one day at a time. Mindfulness is a philosophy and life perspective that can help you live your life day by day.
It is the belief and practice of being in the present moment by letting go of your thoughts and observing them through a place of compassion instead of judgment. It's about awareness of yourself, your environment, and all of your senses.
The benefits of mindfulness include:
Often, mindfulness is practiced through thought exercises, meditation, or yoga. Through the practice of mindfulness, you are training your brain to be thoughtful, nonjudgmental, and open to new perspectives.
When you practice mindfulness through yoga or meditation, you are training your brain to slow down and process information objectively. This allows you to reprocess your thoughts and emotions. It can also help you be less judgmental towards yourself and others. This can help you develop unconditional positive regard.
Meditation is often guided by an instructor that heightens your senses through imagery. This helps you focus on the present which can stimulate relaxation. Focusing on the present prevents your mind from worrying about the future or obsessing over things you can't change in your past.
Yoga adds movement to the practice of mindfulness. In doing so, it challenges you to be aware of your body. How does your body feel in certain poses? What are your body's limitations? This adds an element that further grounds you in the present moment.
The practice of mindfulness is even used in clinical settings. Most notably, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a type of therapy that was originally developed for managing recurring major depressive symptoms.
MBCT combines the stress reduction effects of mindfulness with the therapeutic benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to prevent a depressive relapse. It focuses on the effect that thoughts, behaviors, and emotions have on one another. The goal of MBCT is to disengage from habitual thoughts or conditions that are distorted and damaging. By recognizing that your thoughts aren't grounded in reality, you can more easily combat them. This will help you replace damaging thoughts with positive and productive ones.
During your recovery, you must be patient with yourself. Taking recovery one day at a time prevents you from moving your goalpost before your goal is hit.
Instead, your goal will always be to make it through the day better than you did yesterday. Sometimes you will fail, and sometimes you will succeed. No matter what, every day will be a new start in which you can make healthy choices that are in line with your values.
Taking your recovery one day at a time will help you to reach your recovery goals more efficiently. Any type of permanent change to your lifestyle will occur gradually, after all, so it is important to be patient. At Pathways Recovery Center, we provide a safe, low-stress environment for you to take your recovery one day at a time. We understand that taking recovery one step at a time requires a shift in mindset, which is why we offer mindfulness-based modalities like yoga and meditation. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call (888) 771-0966 to learn how recovery can help you restore your life's purpose and heal from addiction.