New Years Resolution

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What’s the point? Every New Year’s resolution I set, never sticks. Sure, it sticks for a few days or weeks, but by Valentine’s Day I’ve already forgotten what it was in the first place.

Why does this continually happen?

When I look closer, I realize that the process of a resolution is the exact same every year. I choose a blank arbitrary statement like:

Lose weight, lose XX pounds

Make more money

Drink less alcohol

Pay down debt

Buy a car

Buy a house

Get the job, get the promotion

Be a better spouse/parent/child/employee

Am I the only one that struggles to stay committed to my resolution? Maybe there is just too much pressure to commit to something for an entire year? To answer these questions, I look at my own journey.

I am an addict. I don’t use alcohol or drugs anymore. I’ve been clean and sober for years.

But as an addict, the odds are stacked against me. The unfortunate reality is that most addicts relapse. Knock on wood, this will not be my story.

You see, addicts and those of us that make resolutions have a lot in common. We commit to change a behavior and for some reason in a short period of time (hours, days, weeks, months) we lose our initial motivation and go back to our old ways. For an addict this is life and death.

Many things happen when we break our resolution. It crushes us on deeper levels than many of choose to acknowledge. Self pity, self doubt, and isolation may start to gain momentum at a subconcious level. The mind tells us “of course you didn’t stick to that, you never do”.

What makes staying sober and keeping a resolution so difficult? For me it was simple–change.

Change makes me very uncomfortable. To stay sober I had to change everything. New friends, a new cell phone number, daily commitments to recovery, new hangout spots, and being okay with feeling insanely uncomfortable (for the short term).

I stayed sober, not by saying, I’m never going to drink or drug again, but by breaking it down into manageable challenges. Hourly, daily.

Think about your current life and suddenly you have 100 things to do. What have we always been told? Write things down, break them out into manageable tasks and do one at a time. This is the exact same methodology to apply to keeping your resolution. Stay committed for the hour, for the day. Hours lead into days, days into weeks, weeks into months and months into years. Years turn into lifestyle changes.

Set Yourself Up for Success

When I get into a bind where I think about a drink or a drug, I have the tools to help me out of that situation. These tools were taught to me through my recovery journey. Calling a friend who is on the same path, having an exit plan from an engagement, taking my own car, not over committing, etc.

The same applies to keeping your resolution. You need tools to help you stay focused and increase your chances of success.

If losing weight is your resolution there are certain things you can do to make it less painful. Prepare your next meal after you’ve eaten and are full, shop on a full stomach, don’t enter a coffee shop hungry, drink lots of water, always carry a bag of nuts, etc. Set up a support network of a couple of people that are also committed to this. Keep your contact with others who are not on the same journey to a minimum at the beginning. It was a whole lot easier for me to stay sober when I was around sober people all on the same path.

Good luck in 2018! To start you only need to accomplish your resolution for January 1stTomorrow is a new day. Remember feeling uncomfortable is a good thing. It means you are doing something different. 

Nothing changes, if nothing changes”

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