“Progress is the word that charms their ears and stirs their hearts.” – Woodrow Wilson
Defining Progress and Growth
What is the reasoning behind making resolutions? Why do we set such large goals for ourselves to achieve? Regardless of the resolution, they are almost always made in good intention because the focus of every resolution is progress.
But how do we define progress? People often get into arguments about what progress really means. Because progress is such an abstract concept, many people’s definitions clash. Some say that what others regard as progress is not progress at all.
Some people believe that progress must relate to their ideas of a perfect world or version of themselves. To us here at Recovery Unplugged, progress is making a real effort to be a better person. Even small actions can be the result of big progress, even if that means just asking for help.
However, for those suffering from addiction, just making a resolution isn’t progress enough. For people struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), resolutions to get clean and sober are made throughout the year.
Taking Steps Towards Living Clean and Sober
Whether a New Year’s resolution or not, the first step towards living clean and sober is always the hardest. Anyone who makes the first step towards getting help deserves to feel proud of themselves. Asking for help is the first step towards progress and the goal of living in recovery.
Setting and achieving goals play an enormous part in recovery. Once a person learns their purpose, they find power in themselves and their quest to defeat drug or alcohol addiction.
Simply setting goals won’t motivate a person attempting recovery to give up an addiction– there has to be action. Without action, resolutions and goals are little more than voiced ideals we never fulfill. It’s easy to say we want something– it’s impressive when we actually go out and get it.
Setting SMART and Achievable Goals
The best way to do follow through with plans is setting “SMART” goals. SMART is an acronym created to help make a guide while setting objectives. These can help with both personal and professional growth, and with setting goals and deciding how to achieve them.
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement. To accomplish this goal, you have to know exactly what you’re going to do to grow.
- Measurable – make sure you can measure or at least follow an indicator of progress. If you can’t set and achieve these goals in a measurable way, will you follow through?
- Attainable – assuring that an end can be achieved or attained. Setting goals that are realistic and possible is important. Nobody is going to actively pursue a goal they believe is impossible.
- Relevant – is this goal something that’s impacting your life directly at this time? Is it relevant to effectively achieving your long-term goals?
- Time related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved, and if that’s a reasonable time limit. If you aren’t setting deadlines for yourself to achieve something, it might not end up happening.
Once the individual has started their journey into recovery, it’s important that they continue setting goals for themselves. Getting sober is only the beginning of the journey. Whether it’s setting smaller goals and objectives or sticking to a bigger plan, you can achieve it.
Those struggling with SUD will need to keep developing their potential to be able to achieve these goals. It might be hard, but it’s possible to find a satisfying life away from substance abuse.
Is There a Right Time for Setting Resolutions?
In short, the answer is no. We’ve gotten accustomed to the idea of New Year’s resolutions being the only resolutions that matter. This could not be further from the truther. Every day you wake up is a good day to set new goals and commit to new resolutions.
If you’ve already broken your New Year’s resolution, you’re not the only one. Maybe you’re in treatment and you’re finding it hard to stick to staying clean. The good news is, you’re not the only one, and there are people who can give you help and support.
Even with SMART goals, it can be almost impossible to get clean and stay clean by yourself. Make sure you surround yourself with people committed to helping you set goals and stick to them. You won’t regret it.
As hard as it might be right now, make sure you stick to the goal you’ve set for yourself. You just might find that living life clean and sober is the most fulfilling goal you’ve ever set for yourself.