Last Updated on December 13, 2021 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Finally. 2020 is over and a new year is about to begin. This past year was a challenging one in one way or more for people all over this planet due to COVID-19, and everyone everywhere is excited to see this year come to a close as we look ahead to a new beginning.

For some or even many people working on their recovery from addiction, this year was even more difficult than it was for others. There were many stressors and situations that made moving forward on a clean, sober, and healthy path a tougher battle than usual.

Social distancing, restrictions, and cancellations resulted in challenges for support groups, addiction recovery centers, and counseling sessions, and addiction recovery service providers needed to reinvent themselves time and time again. Financial issues, health problems, isolation, and concern for and loss of loved ones drove some to temporary slips and others to total relapse.

However, many also took this time to dive more deeply into their focus on recovery. During this time, we were all inspired by the many ways people reached out to others and made sure others were doing ok. Many who struggled entered treatment for the first time for long-existing substance use disorders and finally got the help that they needed. Still others recognized their triggers and slips and relapses and worked hard to overcome them as well.

Looking Ahead

As we enter 2021, we all look ahead to a brighter future. We all have high hopes for 2021 and beyond. And as a new year dawns and unfurls in front of us, it’s time to make plans for the next twelve months.

What do you wish to see and do during this coming year? Surely, you have some vague ideas, but the best way to reach your goals is through articulating them clearly to yourself.

Making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for the year ahead is a tradition that goes back thousands of years. Unfortunately, many people make them and then immediately forget all about them, and when a near year comes around again, they’re right back where they started.

If you are looking for tips on making some new year’s resolutions that you can stick to and achieve, read on. When you approach this task the right way, you can reach your new year’s goals.

How to Make New Year’s Resolutions

When most people make new year’s resolutions, they simply make a list of things they would like to achieve in the coming year. Some people don’t even write them down; they just list them in their mind. Those who do write them down put them in a notebook and then put it away, or put them on the refrigerator but forget to ever look at them again.

No wonder they fail.

If you want to make new year’s resolutions that stick, then you’ll need to do a lot more than that.

How to Begin

First, brainstorm some goals you would like to achieve in the new year. You can make this list as long as you like, but if it’s more than a few things, you’ll want to shorten it a bit before moving on. Too many goals will keep you from focusing on any of them; it’s much easier to achieve a few big things than a whole bunch.

Small Steps

Once you have one or two or a handful of resolutions chosen, you’ll need to break each of them into smaller steps. Large goals can’t be reached overnight, but rather they must be worked on over a period of time. What are the small changes that will add up to the big achievements you seek? How can you get from point A to point B, and then to point C and D?  Can you set deadlines to reach these smaller goals? How will you know that you’ve made progress towards your final desires?

SMART Goal Setting

The SMART method of goal setting can help you along the way. This acronym is a great tool for setting reachable and achievable goals for the year ahead. It suggests that goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. If you consider all these factors when setting your goals, you will already be partway to achieving them.

Make a Commitment

Commit to the goals you make and promise yourself that you will stick to them. Of course, this is easier said than done. But, you can support your commitment in a number of ways. One way is to write them down and to refer to them often. Set aside one day a month to review your goals and to recommit. You can also use that time to figure out what is working for you and what is not, and to plan strategies to strengthen your focus.

Another way to support your commitment is by making your goals and resolutions public to others. Look to friends and loved ones for accountability and ask them to check in on your progress often. It’s always helpful to have other people rooting for you along the way.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

Another important thing to consider when making resolutions and goals is the ways you will reward yourself when you have succeeded. Working towards a reward can help you remain motivated on your journey and can help you to stay committed when the going gets tough. However, always keep in mind the fact that rewards should be healthy and positive and should not set you back at all on other goals that you wish to achieve in life.

Good Luck and Happy 2021

All of the above strategies will help you to achieve your resolutions this year like never before. Each of them will help on their own, but when used all together, they are a true powerhouse. As someone in recovery from addiction, you know that it’s possible to achieve anything if you put your mind to it and commit. You can do anything. 2021 is your year!

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