If you are struggling with addiction, or any other emotional or habitual difficulty, remember, these troubles were probably formed over the span of several years or more, and sometimes it can take years to change them.

We’ve all heard the saying “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day.” Your situation now (whether good or bad) is most likely a culmination of the patterns and habits of every day prior, each happening ‘one day at a time.’

I’ve seen addicts’ relapse and businesses fall apart because people were moving ahead too quickly.

A great example is how losing weight is one of the top New Year’s resolutions. And yet almost 90% of people quit going to the gym by the time March rolls around.

There is a reason recovery programs teach living ‘one day at a time.’

A person struggling with addiction can only stay sober one day at a time and weight comes off one pound at a time. Making a commitment to change requires constant effort over time with accountability to stay the course.

Looking at the big picture never hurts but if you stay there, you will overwhelm yourself with how far you have to go and be tempted to quit.

Take apart the large goal by setting small goals for yourself and reward yourself for achieving them. If you mess up, you can begin again tomorrow.  But, pick yourself up and restart.

This way the failures, if you have them, are minor and not devastating.

Creating smaller manageable goals is a great way to not get overwhelmed and quit. It is amazing how these goals can quickly add up to big achievements.

The reason most New Year’s resolutions fail is because they are vague and not well thought out. Using the SMART Goals framework can help you map out your goals and steer you toward success.

  • SPECIFIC: Write or create a clear description of what you are trying to achieve.
  • MEASURABLE: Decide how you will measure your progress.
  • ACHIEVABLE: While your goal can be challenging, you also want to make sure it is doable.
  • REALISTIC: Be honest with yourself. By recognizing your limitations, you will make sure you set goals that are realistic for yourself.
  • TIMELY: Choose a deadline or timeframe for when you want to complete your goal.

Most substance abuse counselors and therapists use similar goal setting strategies with their clients to achieve success. When we are setting these goals it is important to remember that our substance use probably filled up much of our time which means it is important to develop enjoyable replacement activities.

Now that you have a framework, you might be wondering what goals you should set? It is different for everyone but below are a few examples of common goals for people in recovery.

  1. I will commit to 20 minutes of quiet time every day. Journal writing, meditation, deep breathing, prayer, or reviewing the day’s events (what went well and what could have gone better) is a great way to de-stress, reflect on your emotions, and bring yourself some peace.
  2. I will exercise for at least 45 minutes per day. Regular exercise will improve every area of your life and release healthy levels of natural feel-good endorphins.
  3. I will learn something new I have always wanted to try. Finding new ways to enjoy life without drugs and alcohol is a huge part of the recovery process. Learning to play an instrument, taking a class, or reading a new book series brings joy and creates healthy habits.
  4. I will attend one recovery meeting, counseling session, therapy session, or church service each week. Meetings and gatherings will not only improve your mental health but they will allow you to meet other individuals who are in recovery or who do not drink or use drugs.

Work with your Drug and Alcohol Counselors

Very few hefty goals were ever achieved in solitude. If you want to be successful, it is important to lean on your support network. At The Life Change Center, we can help you set and achieve your sobriety goals and continue your journey to lifelong recovery from substance abuse.