Content Reviewed by Karen Rubenstein, LMFT, Chief Clinical Officer at Cliffside Malibu

Updated on 12/13/2022

When the new year arrives, you may find yourself or others taking an optimistic outlook on what the next year will bring. As you scroll through social media, you will likely see people expressing the positive things they hope to achieve within the coming year and celebrating the accomplished goals obtained in the closing year.

As you enter another year of addiction recovery and sobriety, you may feel jitters when it comes to participating in the annual tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. Although it may feel like a daunting and overwhelming task, writing what you hope to achieve in the coming year can be an important tool in addiction recovery. Below are some tips to help you get started.

Acknowledge What You Have Already Achieved

Throughout treatment, you may have heard the word mindfulness and how important it is during recovery. You may wonder why you should think about what you need to achieve in a year that has not come yet. Why should you look back at the past year when you have learned to focus on the present? An important aspect of mindfulness is not to stay stuck in the past or future.

Taking the time to reflect on what you have achieved in recovery shows you how much willpower you truly have. Although recovery is a never-ending process and can be difficult no matter how far along you are, the first few years are typically the hardest. Whether you have completed detox and have now started residential treatment, transitioned to outpatient treatment, or use alumni services, you have made tremendous progress so far. Your accomplishments can be used as motivation for your new goals, and give you a starting point on what you need to work on next.

4 Tips for Setting Goals in Addiction Recovery

Let’s look at a few tips to help get you started on setting your New Year’s resolution while in addiction recovery.

1. Be Realistic About New Year’s Resolutions

One reason why you may have a hard time achieving the goals you set for the new year is that your goals may be too hard to achieve. Typically, New Year’s resolutions are for short-term goals and accomplishments you want to achieve within the next 12 months. Be mindful about the time frame and how long it will take to achieve the goals you set. Also, make sure your resolutions align with what you believe about yourself and not what other people are doing. You know yourself better than anyone else; make sure that you are setting your goals with the expectations you have of yourself.

2. Get Input on a Resolution From Your Recovery Team

While goal setting is solely up to you and what you want to achieve, in recovery it can be beneficial to discuss your goals with your treatment team. This could be staff that works closely with you, your therapist, or someone you trust to talk about your goals with. They can help you identify areas of recovery you have left to complete or skills that you would like to develop. They can also give you guidance on how to set S.M.A.R.T. goals that are achievable in the timeframe you want.

3. Try New Things This Year

During addiction recovery, it is strongly encouraged to try new things and meet new people. As you leave the old lifestyle of substance use behind, you will need to detach from certain activities or people that you associate with substance use. The new year is a perfect time to plan out all the new things you want to try or places you want to go. You may want to learn about nutrition and how to cook healthy foods, take on a new hobby such as art or photography or simply explore more parts of where you live.

4. Start Small and Work Your Way Up

It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of setting goals and thinking about all of the things you want to accomplish. Writing down and visualizing your goals versus putting in the work to achieve them are two different things. While in recovery, you are still learning how to create and stick to maintaining good, healthy habits. Getting into the routine of making daily commitments towards the goals you set requires discipline and dedication. Start small with your goals and as you get more comfortable with making those daily actions, expand your goals.

Now Put Your Goals in Motion

Now that you have the tips for setting your New Year’s resolution goals while in addiction recovery, it will soon be time to put them into action. Write out your goals in a journal or somewhere that you can keep track of your progress. You can make it more fun by creating a vision board full of pictures that remind you and give you a visual representation of the goals that you are working towards.

Most importantly, remember to take it one day at a time. Life happens, and some moments are harder than others, so make adjustments when needed. Progress is not always linear, so don’t be ashamed of needing help to keep you on track. A part of recovery is creating meaningful relationships that serve as your support system, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your loved ones or even your treatment staff. You don’t have to take every step on your own, and having the extra support keeps you accountable for your actions. Enjoy the journey of reaching goals, and be proud of your progress, no matter how small.

Cliffside Malibu offers high-quality treatment programs that teach you the skills you need to function independently without substances. Whether you are in the beginning stages of treatment and need help with detox or are in search of a safe sober living home, we are here to help you through your recovery process. Our treatment facility offers a serene and luxurious therapeutic environment to help you comfortability focus on your sobriety and recovery. If you or a loved one are in search of a treatment center, call Cliffside Malibu today at (855) 403-5641 to learn more about our treatment programs.