As a new year dawns, feelings of possibility and hope abound. People often view a new year as a new chapter—an opportunity to rewrite the parts of the story that were not working before and reaffirm aspirations and dreams. For those in recovery, whether just beginning the journey or staying the course, every new year can be a time to commit or recommit to sobriety. If you are starting to think about recovery or sober goals in the new year, consider addiction treatment programs in Rehrersberg, PA, at Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC). If you would like to strengthen your sobriety with a rehab reboot, PAATC is here for you, too.
As you contemplate your sober goals for 2023, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at PAATC. We can answer questions, listen to your short- and long-term objectives, and offer you a range of programs that might be the solution as you look for the next step. Call us at 844.442.8673 or use this form to connect.
Setting Sober Goals
If you want to maximize your chances of success in meeting the goals you set, be mindful and realistic. An excellent tool for measuring the potential outcomes of your stated goals is the word SMART, which stands for the five ways to define specific objectives.
- Specific – Select a clearly defined goal, like “Engage in one sober social activity per week with Jerome,” rather than something a bit too vague such as “Get out more.”
- Measurable – In the above example, you can measure “one per week” by marking it on your calendar every time you and Jerome take a hike or see a movie. “Get out more” is vague and thus also not measurable.
- Actionable/achievable – Does your goal permit you to clearly define action steps to make it happen? You can make a checklist: decide what days of the week work best, plan activities with Jerome, set dates in the calendar a month in advance, etc. If so, you can achieve this goal by following the steps.
- Realistic – Is this something you actually can do? A goal such as sober activities is realistic. A goal such as “run 10 miles a day” when you have not jogged since high school is not, even though it is specific, measurable, and actionable.
- Time-bound – In the original example, “Get out more” is not time-bound. “More” could mean twice a year if you have been self-isolating. Once a month (or daily, weekly, etc.) is a great way to set timely parameters around the goal.
Now that you know how to make it easier for yourself to meet your goals, how do you decide what your goals are?
Quitting Addiction, One Resolution at a Time
Even though addiction is a chronic condition, meaning that quitting addiction is a misnomer of sorts, the goal you set for yourself in recovery is, essentially, quitting the behaviors that reinforce the disease. To do that, you replace those behaviors with healthy ones. One way to do that is to set SMART goals and watch yourself hit milestones along the way.
Everyone is different. One person’s idea of a stimulating day-long hike is another’s concept of a sweaty, bad hair nightmare. Below is a list of excellent sober goals that cover a range of options and sensibilities. Some might resonate with you, and others might not.
Meditate every morning for 30 minutes
Mindfulness is a very effective tool in maintaining equilibrium, mental health, and sobriety.
Pursue a new hobby
You can return to something you loved as a kid or try something you’ve been curious about, whether it’s watercolor, cooking, poetry writing, woodworking, fishing… the list is endless. Hobbies that are fun and rewarding squeeze out cravings and boredom, both dangerous to sobriety.
Attend a religious service weekly
If you belong to a faith tradition, even if you have strayed from it at times, attending services may offer comfort and a sense of regularity and support.
Volunteer at the “X” once a month
Going outside yourself to be of service to others has proven positive effects on those in recovery. To make it specific, when setting your goals, you need to name the volunteerism as well as make arrangements for it to happen.
Keep a written, audio, or video journal daily
You can use journaling, whether on paper or electronically, to process your big and small challenges and successes, remark about what you are grateful for and reinforce your goals, all of which support recovery.
Daily exercise for a set number of minutes
Or you can specify 10,000 steps, or attending three spin classes per week, or any other measurable, time-bound fitness goal. Physical fitness increases health and daily exercise improves mood by producing endorphins. It’s science.
Reaching Your New Year’s Sober Goals – Let PAATC Help
There are many ways to find the support you need to help you stick to your sober goals for the new year. For example:
- Accessing a support network full of accountability partners to keep you on your path
- Attending 12-step or other sober support meetings regularly
- Measuring your successes in increments to feel success daily
- Affirming your worthiness and strength as a reminder that you deserve to be healthy