Your Ultimate Guide to New Year’s Resolutions and Addiction Recovery

Your Ultimate Guide to New Year’s Resolutions and Addiction Recovery

It is around this time of year that we typically begin to hear of New Year’s resolutions. Some may plan to start a new diet, with others may vow to exercise at least 3 days a week, despite previously failed attempts. Often there is a list involved, such as this:

–       Quit smoking

–       Read more books

–       Learn how to play the guitar

–       Travel more

–       Eat healthier food

–       And more

There is something in the air that often gives people this sense of hope – that perhaps with a new year, they’ll be able to “wipe the slate clean” and begin all of the goals they meant to accomplish the year prior. It sounds promising, but does it really work? Unfortunately, research says “no”.

As states, New Year’s resolutions actually set us up to fail – but why is this?

5 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

1. We overwhelm ourselves with too many goals, without a clear focus. Rather than a detailed plan for reaching one goal, we either create a long list of goals that simply aren’t going to be doable, or we create goals that are too vague for us to actually take part in.

2. We rely on our emotions to accomplish these goals, rather than setting actual milestones to know we’re on the right track towards achieving them. Since we aren’t developing a plan for achieving these goals, we’re assuming that we’ll feel “up” and “ready” to do whatever it is that we need to do on our own – which is much easier said than done.

3. We wait until the end of the year, when real goal-setting should take place all throughout the year. We rely on a time of the year to provide us with motivation to achieve something, when the reality is that we need to garner this motivation on our own – and at any time of the year – if we truly want to find success.

4. We expect to accomplish these goals without actually doing anything different. We continue repeating the same behaviors and routines that we normally do, only to find that months into the New Year we’ve not achieved anything we’ve set out to accomplish.

5. We believe that breaking a habit is much easier than it actually is. Some books state that it takes 21 days to break a habit, but it actually takes much longer than this. In fact, previous research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology indicates that it may take individuals 18-254 days to truly develop a new habit.

No More New Year’s Resolutions – Just Clear Goals

Addiction recovery is a period of time where goal-setting is incredibly important. Residential and outpatient programs provide individuals with a sense of structure and support to help them form these new habits that could change their lives for the better. If you’re wanting to establish some resolutions, consider starting simple with just one – and don’t wait until New Year’s. As you’re setting goals for yourself, be sure to follow the acronym S.M.A.R.T. Here is the breakdown:

Specific – provide enough detail so that you have no confusion on what goal you’re wanting to accomplish. An example of this may be, “Increase fruits and vegetables by adding one additional serving for one meal, each day.”

Measurable – you want to be sure that you can keep track of your progress, so you want to set a way to measure that. With the above example, one serving of fruits and vegetables a day is easy to measure.

Achievable – given your current circumstance, you want to set a goal that you’ll actually be able to reach with what you have, where you are. If you’re in a reputable residential treatment program that provides comprehensive services, achieving your nutritional goal of adding one serving per day could be attainable if the food is available to you.

Realistic – select a goal that you’re going to find joy in achieving. Don’t set something too difficult to achieve, as this will dissuade you from pushing forward. If adding one serving of fruits and vegetables to your daily nutrition intake is certainly a challenge you can take on, then it’s a good fit.

Timelyset a timeframe for when you want to have this goal completed by. By setting an end goal – 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months – you’ll have a clear target to achieve, which will make the process much easier.

Start Today

Whether you’d like to set a goal focused on self-care, nutrition, medication, holistic therapies, or something else as part of your recovery journey, be sure to start sooner rather than later. Habits are difficult to overcome – and it can be easy to start procrastinating. Get excited. Get motivated. Start working towards your goals, today.

If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today. The time to rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit is now.

The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.

Saving Lives; Healing Families.


Kimberly James

I am the founder and owner of The Beach House Treatment Center, The White House, Indigo Ranch, Sweetwater Mesa and Beach House Center for Wellness, all in Malibu, California.