- Lose Weight/Get Healthy
It is the number one New Year’s resolution every year among all Americans, and if you are overweight, obese, or struggle with maintaining a healthy weight, it is a good idea to focus on physical wellness. In recovery, positive choices along these lines can bring a boatload of benefits to your ability to stay sober. Eating better and working out can improve your body’s function, your immune system, and your ability to get restful sleep – all of which improve mood and make it easier to manage stress. Plus, when you feel better about how you look and move through the world, you feel better about yourself in general, and in recovery, every bit of extra self-confidence increases your ability to avoid relapse.
Here’s how to make it happen:
- Choose behavior goals. Rather than saying, “I want to lose 20 pounds,” opt for a resolution like, “I want to go to a different exercise class at the gym every day,” or “I’m going to quit eating fast food.” These kinds of goals are trackable and actionable. If you continue with them, you will see changes in how your clothes fit and how you feel.
- Quit smoking. If you smoke, the first step to getting healthy is quitting. It is not easy, but when you make it happen, you will improve your stress management, your quality of sleep, and your ability to get a good cardiovascular workout. Talk to your doctor about options for quitting smoking, and join support groups – in person and online – to help you get through the ups and downs.
- Eat more vegetables. Getting healthy doesn’t have to be about deprivation. Rather than focusing on all the things you probably shouldn’t eat, focus instead on all the great things you should be eating. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and whole grains can be very satisfying and flavorful. There are tons of ways to make healthy food interesting, and with a little bit of prep and/or a commitment to seeking out at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal, it is a pretty easy way to reach your health-related goals in 2017.
- Get moving. You do not have to drag yourself to an expensive gym every day to get healthy and lose weight. Download one of hundreds of free workout apps. You can do a short seven-minute workout whenever you have time. Getting outside and playing a favorite sport or hiking also constitutes as exercise. In fact, scrubbing the house or dancing to your favorite music does too. Pick something you enjoy.
- Get Your Finances in Shape
In recovery, money is a big topic of discussion. Having cash in hand can be a trigger for relapse, but having too little money to manage basic bills can also be a trigger. Getting your finances in order is a big part of creating a strong and independent life in recovery. Here’s how you can simplify the process this year:
- Create a budget. Write out all of your expenses – rent, utilities, phone, groceries, and anything else you pay regularly. Then make a list of your estimated bills – food, clothes, and household items (like cleaners and toiletries). Note all the things you pay for on top of that every month – subscription services, cable, etc. Track every dollar you spend in an app or spreadsheet, and find out whether your estimations are correct. Every. Single. Dollar. Then, start cutting back on all the things you don’t need to make sure you not only have enough money to get through the month but to also reach your financial goals.
- Make specific financial goals. Do you want to pay off debt? Pay for the damage you caused in addiction? Save for college tuition? Go on a trip? Outline exactly what you need and track your progress as you make it happen.
- Put it away. It is not a good idea to keep cash around the house. Keep your cash where you cannot access it easily, and consider looking for a financial nonprofit that is set up to help you get on your feet.
- Live beneath your means. If you want to make rapid progress toward your goals, cut your expenses dramatically. Eat beans and rice, buy no new clothes, and avoid going out to eat until you reach your financial goal for 2017.
- Stay Sober
Maybe it goes without saying that this is your goal for 2017, and for most everyone in recovery pursuing the first two resolutions, it is an ongoing struggle. But if you would like to put your recovery at the forefront of your life this year, you can create New Year’s resolutions that are specific to your purpose. You can:
- Go to a 12-Step meeting every day for three months.
- Start a new alternative therapy, like art therapies, sports therapies, animal-assisted therapies, and others.
- Incorporate a stress reduction treatment into every week, like yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and others.
- Create new recovery goals with your therapist and map out a plan to turn them into a reality.