Many people take time at the beginning of each new year to reflect on the past and to look forward to the future. In looking ahead, many of us make resolutions, or a list of changes we would like to make in our lives. As someone who has made the choice to get clean and sober and stay that way, you know more about this than most people! Unfortunately, many of the changes that people are inspired to make due to the dawning of a new year don’t stick; according to Business Insider magazine, 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Clearly, thanks to your successes in getting your addiction under control, you have more dedication and resolve than most people, but sticking to life changes can still be challenging. Building healthy and productive habits isn’t easy, but with the right mindset and proper approach, you can truly accomplish anything.
How Good Habits Can Keep You Sober
Now that you are clean, sober, and on a positive path for the rest of your life ahead, building healthy and productive habits is important. The habits themselves will undoubtedly help you to grow and develop as a person, but the process will also he a great help in keeping you focused on the positive. Developing good habits will help you to feel productive, and staying dedicated to their growth will also help you to stay out of trouble and keep you strong and resilient against triggers and possible relapse. The more healthy and productive habits that you are able to incorporate into your life and daily routine, the better – they will help you in continuing to advance as a human being, and sticking to them will make you feel accomplished and capable each and every day.
It’s Not Easy!
It is not easy to build new habits, unfortunately. For many of us, laziness and excuses can quickly take over, soon after we begin, even when we have the best intentions. Furthermore, as much as scientific research tries to tell us that humans love routine, some people do not find that to be true – and some people even find routine and habit to be somewhat constricting.
However, to develop successful habits, and getting yourself to stick to them, simply takes time and dedication. It may have been easy for you to build bad habits in the past, but even bad habits don’t happen overnight. In most cases, and addict does not become an addict in one day. It will take time and effort to build healthy and productive habits, but once you do, you will feel accomplished and you will feel better about yourself. You will be incorporating things into your life that will actually improve you as a human being – physically, emotionally, socially, and/or mentally – and once you start down that path, well, the sky is the limit!
Some Ideas for Starters
It’s likely that you already have some ideas in your head about some productive and healthy habits you would like to include in your everyday life, but if you are having trouble deciding where to begin, here are some ideas.
- Taking a vitamin.
- Exercising regularly.
- Practicing yoga every day.
- Meditating daily.
- Household chores such as making your bed every morning, laying out your clothes for the next day every night, various other household chores, or decluttering.
- Reading every day.
- Practicing a new language.
- Keeping on top of your correspondence and/or clearing your email mailbox before the end of each day.
- Calling a friend or family member (or your sponsor!) on a regularly scheduled basis.
- Listening to educational podcasts.
- Spending at least thirty minutes outdoors each day.
- Going to bed or waking up at a consistent time.
Tips for Building Healthy & Productive Habits
Now, many people might choose ten things from the list above all at once, successfully complete them all one day, and then forget about their habit goals entirely a few days later. Unfortunately, most of us humans are inclined to take on too much at once – and as a result, we fail. We think that it is impossible to make changes, and then give up on all of it until making resolutions again the following year. The problem here, if you step back, seems obvious – don’t bite off more than you can chew, and you will find much greater success, and more quickly, too. Here are some tips for anyone trying to incorporate healthy and productive habits into their lives.
- Start small. This is the most important tip on the list. If you try to take on too much at once, then you will not succeed at any of it. Choose ONE of the habits you would like to add into your routine, practice it successfully for a week, and THEN add another. Wait another week (or more) before adding another. Also, if you don’t exercise at all currently, don’t expect yourself to work out an hour a day, seven days a week. Try fifteen minutes a day, three days a week first. If reading daily is the habit you choose to pursue, don’t try to read an entire novel in one sitting! Rather, set a timer and read for fifteen minutes the first day, and then move on to something else. If you want to continue reading after the fifteen minutes are over – great! But even if you don’t you have already succeeded at participating in that habit today.
- Record your successes. You will feel like you are making progress if you record your successes each day. Make a checkmark or draw an X on a calendar every day you complete the habit you are trying to create. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld actually used this method to help him become successful in his field. Long ago, he told himself he would write a joke every day. Every day that he did, he drew an X on his calendar. Not wanting to “break the chain,” once he had a few connected Xes, he simply kept going. It certainly seemed to work for him!
- Momentum matters. Using the above tip, combined with simple human nature – momentum matters. Just like Sir Isaac Newton stated in his First Law of Motion, “An object at rest will stay at rest. An object in motion stays in motion,” people who are moving down a positive path will likely continue moving down that path. You just need to get started!
- Make it as easy as possible. When trying to incorporate a new habit into your life, try to cut out as many obstacles as you can. If your plan is to get healthy and active, make sure your gym clothes are clean and ready to go by the door so you don’t make excuses while searching for them. If journaling daily is what you would like to do, buy yourself a nice journal that you will enjoy using, and keep it somewhere that is easily accessible.
- Understand that minor setbacks are just that – Some days you will step backwards instead of forward. As someone in recovery, you know that this happens sometimes. They key is to not let the step back turn into many steps back. Get back on the horse. Return to your habit, remind yourself why you want to include it in your life, and continue moving forward.
- Tell others and stay accountable. Just like when you got clean and sober, when building healthy and productive habits, it can help immensely to tell other people about what you are trying to do. Telling your friends and family members can keep you on the right track. It’s likely that they will offer you their support, and who knows, you may even find that someone else you know is trying to do the same thing that you are trying to do, and you will therefore have a partner on your habit-building journey!
- Be patient. Experts say that it make take as much as three months, or ninety days, to make a habit stick. That can feel like a long time, but if you stick with it, that time will fly by, and soon, the habit you were trying to develop will be an automatic and integral part of your life.
Building healthy and productive habits can change your life, and can certainly change your 2018! Choose a few and get started – you do not even need to wait until January 1st. The great thing about developing positive habits like these is that doing so can be addictive – in a good way of course – and once you are successful in incorporating one of them into your life, its likely that you will want to add more and more and more! Good luck!
At Clear Sky Recovery, we want to help you to develop the most wonderful habit of all – living positively and following a clean, sober, and healthy life path every single day. It can be done. It just takes dedication, desire, momentum, and a helping hand – and we are here to be that helping hand! Please call us today to learn more about our facility in Cancun, Mexico, and about the ways in which ibogaine detox can help you break free of your addiction. Our intake specialists are standing by to answer your questions, and to explain the ways in which ibogaine can help you start a new and healthy life in the year ahead. Call us today.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.