What Are Good New Year's Resolutions for Those Navigating Addiction Recovery?

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This is the season when it is common for people to start thinking about what they want their New Year's resolutions to be. These could be changes they hope to make to improve their health, career, productivity, or another aspect of their life. While the concept of coming up with resolutions is a positive thing, few people actually end up sticking to those they set for themselves. If you want to truly make a positive difference in your life this year, consider coming up with some New Year's resolutions that are connected to your recovery journey. 

You may be thinking, “I already follow my treatment plan and do what I need to do to stay sober, what else is there to do?" But when it comes to working on your recovery, you are never truly finished. This is because there will always be more to learn, new ways to grow, and additional things you can do to become the very best version of yourself. That version of yourself includes your mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

The recovery journey goes beyond simply stopping your drug or alcohol use. It involves addressing and healing each and every aspect of your being. This process involves learning to identify negative thought patterns, creating new healthy and positive habits, and learning what you need to do to find true and lasting fulfillment. By creating solid New Year's resolutions for your recovery journey you can prioritize your recovery and reap its many benefits.

At Pathways Recovery Center, we look beyond the disease of addiction and instead focus on the individual. Each person is much more than the addictions they may struggle with. This is why it is so important to treat a person as such when developing a proper treatment plan. For complete healing to take place, each aspect of the individual must be addressed.

What Are Some New Year's Resolutions for My Physical Health?

We know that physical health and mental health go hand in hand. The better you take care of your physical health, the better your mental health will likely be, and vice versa. Do you often find yourself feeling sluggish, impatient, irritable, or just down and are not sure why? You may need to take a look at some of your physical health habits and see if they could be contributing factors.

Many people focus so heavily on the outward attributes of physical health that they lose focus on the components that matter most. For example, some people may be so obsessed with looking thin and fit that they obsessively exercise or reduce their calorie consumption. While they may look good on the outside, they might not feel very good on the inside. They may not be truly in good physical health either.

When working to improve your overall physical health it is important to not forget the basics. For example, it is crucial that most adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night if they want to function to the best of their ability. If you find yourself feeling sluggish or having trouble concentrating throughout the day, poor quality sleep or not enough of it could be to blame. Maybe one of your New Year's resolutions this year could be to make adjustments in your schedule throughout the day in order to make more room for sleep at night.

Consider also how often you are eating and what types of food make up your diet. When you make sure to eat healthy, well-rounded meals each day, you are going to feel your best both mentally and physically. Remember that one of the most important aspects of recovery is giving yourself the tools necessary to make good decisions. When you are rested and your body is well-fueled, you will be better equipped to do that.

No matter how jam-packed your daily schedule may be, it is also vitally important that you make time for some form of exercise each day. Exercise doesn't only help to keep you physically fit, but it improves energy, reduces stress, and boosts your mood. Consider including exercise within your New Year's resolutions this year.

The following are some additional physical health-related New Year's resolutions you may want to focus on this year:

  • Try out an exercise class to make working out more enjoyable
  • Limit going out to eat to once a week or less
  • Consider trying meal prepping to make eating healthier easier and more convenient
  • Try improving the quality of your sleep by reading a chapter of a book before bed instead of scrolling through your phone
  • Budget 30 minutes of your day to spend outdoors, getting your body moving in some way
  • Join a gym with a friend
  • Sign up to run a marathon in the coming year
  • Try out one new healthy recipe per week
  • Start tracking your water intake to make sure you are staying well-hydrated

What Are Some New Year's Resolutions for My Mental Health?

The reason that many people turn to substance misuse is because their mental health is not in the place where it needs to be. Maybe they are struggling with an undiagnosed mental health condition such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or bipolar disorder. Or maybe they simply haven't learned healthy and productive ways to manage stress and negative emotions. Even if these are things that were addressed during your own treatment, this doesn't mean that you can't still work toward improving your mental health.

Do you often find yourself rushing from one thing to another all day long, only to collapse into bed at night? You are definitely not alone. While it is good to be productive, it is important to make sure you don't forget to check in with yourself and your mental health. This includes making the time to process your overall mood and the different emotions you experience throughout the day.

Making time for mental reflection helps you recognize things that are working well in your life and what things may need to be changed. Take time throughout your day to consider what aspects of your life are bringing you joy and what aspects may be draining it. Are there certain things in your life that are causing you unnecessary stress? Is there something that can be done to eliminate that stress?

Consider also what sort of things you are doing to decompress and manage your stress levels. Many people think that simply trying to ignore their stress is going to make it go away. However, it is more likely that their stress is just going to continue building until it becomes unmanageable. It can help to try different stress-relieving methods to determine which ones are most effective for you.

Some mental health New Year's resolutions you may want to consider include:

  • Try out yoga or some other form of meditation
  • Consider meeting with a therapist to talk through your emotions if you don't already
  • Try journaling as a way to process your different thoughts throughout the day
  • Take daily breaks from your phone and all forms of social media
  • Make a habit of asking for help during times when you are feeling overwhelmed
  • Learn to identify and derail negative thought patterns
  • Focus on gratitude instead of self-comparison
  • Learn to focus on aspects of your life that you can control and let go of the rest

What Are Some New Year's Resolutions for My Emotional Health?

Your emotional health has to do with how you think and feel, as well as how you cope with certain situations that may arise in your life. Some important aspects to consider when it comes to your emotional health include purpose, self-esteem, optimism, resiliency, and positive connection with others.

Your purpose is what gives you meaning and fulfillment in life. It is one of the main reasons you wake up every morning and something you work toward each day. For some people, their purpose may be helping others, furthering their career, or being the best parent they can be. If you aren't sure what your purpose is, take the time to reflect upon that as you prepare for the new year.

Your self-esteem involves the way you view yourself and the worth that you associate with your identity. This is something that a lot of people struggle to view in a positive way. Through time and dedication, you can reach a point where you love yourself, flaws and all. Consider taking steps to improve your self-confidence this year.

Optimism involves your ability to look at things with a positive outlook and try to anticipate the best outcome. This is not something that comes easily for a lot of people. Maybe you naturally tend to be more of a “glass half empty” kind of person. It is always possible to re-train your brain to think about the world more optimistically.

Resiliency involves your ability to handle the obstacles and stresses of everyday life. Consider how you respond when something in your day goes wrong. Do you tend to wallow in disappointment, or do you get back up and keep moving forward? Resilience is an important aspect of emotional health that can be strengthened over time.

Your positive connections play a very critical role in your overall mental health. As humans, we are social beings who are not meant to navigate this life alone. We need the support and connection that others can offer. Consider how often you are spending quality time with your friends and family and determine if it is truly enough.

Some New Year's resolutions to consider that are related to emotional health include:

  • Make it a habit to put your phone down when speaking to others so you won't be distracted from the conversation
  • Set concrete plans with friends instead of just open-ended invitations that likely won't lead anywhere
  • Stop yourself when you notice that you are picking apart your imperfections while looking in the mirror
  • Consider what aspects you like about yourself and make a list to remind yourself of them when you're feeling down
  • Learn to hope for the best outcome instead of anticipating the worst
  • Give yourself time to grieve disappointments, but don't wallow in them for too long
  • Seek out the things that provide your life with the most meaning, whatever they may be
  • If you don't feel true fulfillment with your current career situation, continue searching until you find one that does

What Are Some New Year's Resolutions for My Spiritual Health?

Everyone's experience with spiritual health is unique. Spirituality does not have to involve faith or religion, although it does for some people. Your spiritual health involves the way that you connect with something greater than yourself. For some people, this is the universe, a higher power, or even the world around them. There is no wrong way to pursue and experience spiritual health.

Some people foster their spiritual health by going to church. There they have the opportunity to connect with their higher power and unite with others who have the same goal in mind. Maybe you consider yourself a faith-based person but simply haven't had time to practice your faith in recent years. Perhaps, one of your New Year's resolutions could involve reconnecting to it.

Maybe the way you connect with your spirituality is through nature. If this is your situation, you could work on connecting to your spirituality by spending more time outdoors. Find a spot that brings you inner peace and allow yourself to be fully present in it. Practicing yoga or meditation while out in nature can also be very effective.

If you are not yet sure how you best connect to your spiritual side, don't be afraid to try out different things. It may take some time to determine what is going to work best for you.

What Are Some New Year's Resolutions for My Self-Care Habits?

Good self-care habits play a very important role in substance use recovery as well as your overall health. Many people tend to forget about their self-care necessities or forget them entirely. If you are not currently making adequate time for your self-care, consider prioritizing it this coming year. Not only is it going to help you to better combat stress and feel your best, but it will allow you to better connect with yourself.

Remember that self-care is not selfish. It simply involves giving yourself the time and attention that you need to be the best version of yourself. Maybe you are thinking, “I barely have any free time as it is, how am I going to make more time in my schedule for self-care?” You might have to make sacrifices or rearrange your schedule, but somewhere within your day, you can find at least 10 minutes to dedicate to yourself.

Maybe this involves waking up 10 minutes earlier or going to bed 10 minutes later. While it may seem like a sacrifice at the time, you will likely find that it is very much worth it. Before long you may even find yourself looking forward to this special part of your day.

Maybe you want to try new ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life. Consider some of the following ideas:

  • Set a specific time throughout your day to call and check in with a family member or friend
  • Limit the time you spend on your phone by setting alarms to remind you when to put it down
  • Set some time aside to pursue a hobby you've wanted to try but haven't had time for
  • Listen to music that energizes you and empowers you
  • Write down three things that you are grateful for each day

At Pathways Recovery Center, we can work with you to enhance your recovery, including creating New Year's resolutions that can help you live a healthy, happy life in sobriety.

You don't have to wait for the new year to make positive changes in your life. There are many things that you can do each and every day to work toward becoming the best version of yourself. When you give up substance use, you will have the focus, energy, and mental capacity to live up to your true potential. Don't let drugs or alcohol hold you back even one day longer. Reach out for help today. If you are struggling with substance misuse, our team at Pathways Recovery Center can help you take the first steps toward healing. Give us a call at (888) 771-0966 to learn more about our services. 

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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