Maybe 2019 was the year you began the journey to recovery. Or perhaps you’ve been on the road for years and this is a further milestone. It may have been a year of stumbling blocks, a time to revisit treatment and get more help.
While the end of the year can bring about healthy reflection, it can also create an immense amount of pressure, comparison, and self-criticism.
So maybe this wasn’t the time for big steps up in the professional world, attaining a top life goal, or making progress on a tangible project.
However, this isn’t the only marker of success.
Especially when working through the battle of addiction recovery, there are accomplishments that might, at first glance, seem very small but are truly worth celebrating.
What may be easy for others, is not for you, so accept and acknowledge that you have done some hard work. Even if you’ve had slip-ups or hurdles, you are here and continuing on in your journey, and that is HUGE. Seriously monumental.
Remember the day you never thought you could stop turning to substances? Remember the past, when you wouldn’t talk about your feelings at all, nonetheless go to therapy or speak up to a family member? Recall how addiction stole your hope for the future, and see how you actually make and keep plans these days?
The “baby steps” are often the most important. Every day won’t be a groundbreaking insight or overwhelming breakthrough, most days are filled with the tiny choices and little actions that take us that small distance closer to where we want to be. They add up.
Seeing social media posts or hearing from friends about all they’ve accomplished or ticked off their list in the last 365 days can bring up feelings of insecurity, guilt, or shame.
Every person comes against different challenges and at varying times. So while this year may have proved wildly productive and full of shiny things to show off, you may not know about the rough months they had the year before, or the struggles through younger years that they keep hidden.
Further, we often only see the face value of someone’s story. Of course, the narrative shown online is going to be a curation of the best-of-the-best moments, not always showing a genuine or whole picture.
So, remember that perception is key. Acknowledge the good things that have happened for yourself and for other people. Even if it feels too minuscule, it’s about what you feel is important and meaningful, not the size or scope. Remind yourself of the hard times you’ve survived and know that you are not the only one to have troubles, even if it appears that way on your newsfeed.
While it’s not the hoopla of the new millennium, hitting into a new set of double-digits can feel a little overwhelming and exciting.
Resolutions sometimes get a bad rep, mostly due to the fall-off rate somewhere between mid-January and mid-February, or the impossibly high standards to which they are created.
Goals don’t need to be your biggest dreams and hopes. In fact, setting attainable, realistic, measurable goals with clear and actionable methods to get there, can be a better way to go.
Rather than getting discouraged and shaming yourself when you miss a few days at the gym, ruining your streak, or thinking you’ll never really move forward in therapy when a new topic to process proves challenging, the idea is to set yourself up for success.
Take a look at what would make an impact in your life, break it down into smaller steps, and find a way you can assess if progress is being made. It might be a commitment to going to the gym three days a week, rather than seven. Some weeks you might go more, some weeks less, but the goal on average is to hit this number.
It’s also important to reflect on the intention of your goals – is there any avoidance going on? Is this a desired outcome because of external sources or something someone else has said? How will this truly improve your well-being?
While hitting the gym for some feel-good endorphins, to work out stress, and to take care of your body through physical movement are good reasons, if the main focus is on changing your shape or size as a sub-in for self or external acceptance, it’s worth another thought. Adjusting the goal to be inclusive of the best intention helps keep those tricky sideways paths in check.
Be sure to also consider how you’ll react if, or more likely when, you stumble or are shy of your desired outcome. Giving yourself a healthy balance of credit and accountability helps you see where you can improve without ending up in a spiral of shame.
No matter where you see yourself heading in 2020, support and continued recovery is essential to meeting those goals. Whether it’s been a year, three, or 12, Steps Recovery Centers see you as a member of our family and are here to help on your road to life free from addiction. Check-in with us on social media or call at 385-250-1701 to share and find out about resources available for you.