22 New Year’s Resolutions for Recovering Addicts


Like it or not, the new year is almost upon us. The end of the old and the start of the new marks a symbolic juncture–one that’s all about wiping slates clean, self-improvement, and looking towards the future with optimism.  While turning over a new leaf isn’t always easy or pleasant–a truth that recovering addicts have intimate knowledge of–it’s always worth it. In honor of 2022, here are 22 (realistic) New Year’s resolutions for those who are on the challenging but rewarding path of overcoming addiction. 

22 Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Don’t worry about things you can’t control
  2. Celebrate the big and small victories
  3. Find a positive take or a lesson to be learned from setbacks
  4. Learn a new hobby (or several!)
  5. Drink a cup of water first thing after waking up
  6. Incorporate 10 minutes of yoga or meditation into your morning routine
  7. Journal daily for 15 minutes at the end of each day
  8. Complete one kind act for a stranger each day
  9. Attend group 12 step meetings at least once a week
  10. Cook a new recipe once a week
  11. Say aloud 5 things that you’re grateful for at the start of each day
  12. Stick to bedtime or get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
  13. Stand for a few minutes each (waking) hour
  14. Set aside a few dollars a week towards savings
  15. Check-in with loved ones weekly
  16. Limit your scrolling on social media
  17. Give more compliments
  18. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
  19. Update your resume or LinkedIn profile
  20. Try a community college or online course
  21. Take yourself on dates once a month
  22. Set specific rewards for specific milestones (and then do them!)

How To Use NYE Resolutions To Stay Sober

Resolutions can be a great source of motivation if you go about them the right way. Set goals that are too broad or too lofty and you risk setting yourself up for disappointment–a surefire way to lose momentum. Instead, the key is to create realistic resolutions that contribute towards a bigger goal.

Say for example that your New Year’s resolution is the universal desire of all recovering addicts: To stay sober. It’s a noble resolve, but one that is far from a small undertaking. The stroke of midnight won’t suddenly make staying sober easier or magically endow you with unwavering willpower. Nothing about that generic resolution puts you in the position to think or act in a way that improves your likelihood of fulfilling that desire. A good resolution is something actionable and achievable like writing down five reasons why you initially became sober whenever you feel the urge to use again. 

When coming up with NYE resolutions on your own, construct them so that they are:

  • Actionable rather than passive
  • Specific, with precise outcomes in mind
  • Measurable, either quantitative (numbers-based) or qualitative (determined by quality of state of being)
  • Timely and have a precise deadline

Use these criteria as a guideline for determining whether your proposed resolutions are too vague or abstract. Where possible, add (realistic) details to these resolutions such as certain time limits or a particular time of day.

What’s The Difference Between a Resolution and a Goal?

Technically, resolutions and goals are different. Resolutions are the firm decision to do (or not do) something, while goals are more like end-objectives, the desired result of a person’s ambition or effort. 

Examples of Goals vs Resolutions

  • I want to get in shape vs. I will exercise 30 minutes every day after work
  • I want to lose weight vs. I will not eat out more than once per week
  • I want to save $10,000 vs. I will save $200 per paycheck

One helpful way to think about the difference between resolutions and goals is that resolutions serve as the stepping stones that can lead to an overarching goal. When crafting your NYE resolutions, keep your goals as a recovering addict at the forefront of your thoughts. But ultimately, there’s no harm in sprinkling your resolutions with a few of your goals. Include whatever it takes to keep you motivated. 

Ready For The New You?

Whether you’re a recovering addict that recently embarked on their journey or has been dutifully working towards sobriety for decades now, the New Year is an important reminder that it’s never too late to make a positive change. The best way to actually stick to resolutions is to enlist the help of others, especially those with similar goals. Find a 12 steps group near you, today, to find like-minded individuals that have been in your shoes and can hold you accountable.

Happy new year!

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