As a new year begins, we reflect upon the previous one and find there are resolutions we wish to make, goals we wish to set ourselves, improvement we hope to make. Perhaps we might even scan further back to years past make resolutions based out of years of wishes for change. Everyone does it as the new year begins, resolutions seem to have become our wishful chance to right the wrong of the year prior. They can be the perfect time for us to start over fresh, newly relieved of the stresses the holiday season can bring and ready to be a better version of ourselves. Having a set time where it all starts over can be a great motivation to really set a goal and begin to work for it. Many of us love setting goals for ourselves, and we love the satisfaction of completing them even more. Yet there is a common problem that can arise with resolutions and goals: setting the bar too high.
Setting unrealistic goals is a problem that can occur for everyone, not just those who have dealt with a mental illness. Once the decision to make a change is made we experience a sense of excitement in anticipation of the end result and we begin to plan our path to get there. The issue that occurs here is that in this excitement and drive to get to that imagined end result we can fail to pause and consider what is realistic for us or what can be achieved in a healthy manner. We want to lose weight, but as we imagine ourselves with the body we hope to achieve, we may find ourselves setting a weight loss goal that we cannot reasonably achieve. Next thing you know, we fail to hit a goal and we find ourselves discouraged or disappointed, which leads to the abandonment of the goal altogether or even unhealthy habits in an effort to get the desired result faster. We want to find a special someone to be romantically involved with, but as we imagine the happy future we become impatient for it, which perhaps leads us to rushing into things with the wrong person, or staying in situations where we are unhappy. We must learn to respect our own limits and honor our reality, this way if we wish to set goals we have a grasp on what we are actually capable of achieving. Trying too hard to accomplish something we are not realistically capable of can really damage us physically, emotionally, and mentally. It can put you in a bad place where you are so committed that you aren’t paying attention to what your own body and the people around you are telling you. Commitment is something to admire in a person, but we can easily or almost even accidentally commit to a fault as well.
Instead of grandiose goals, think about starting with smaller things. Be thoughtful and honest with yourself about what kinds of things you can accomplish. Do you want to exercise more? Start going for a walk or a run 5 days a week. Ask a friend to join you so you can keep each other accountable. Do you want to prioritize your romance? Ask friends to set you up and dates and plan for them to be something casual, like coffee on a weekend afternoon. Check in with people after those dates and pause to consider if you really enjoyed it before planning another. New years resolutions tend to give us the idea that a year is this strict time-frame that they need to try to adhere to, but the only timeline that is truly important is the one you make with yourself. If you have a larger goal, break it down into steps and set this year as the year you will take just that one step. It is a process that you can set your own schedule for; you don’t need to rush it.
New Year, New Me
We learned how to be patient in recovery, so you already have the tools you need to stop rushing and listen to your needs. We couldn’t change our mental conditions in an instant; we had to work hard and for a while at it until we reached that place of normality. It wasn’t an easy or quick fix, but it was worth the process. Recovery helped you change for the better and gave you the skills to continue to grow, but while this may have made you eager to keep changing for the better, don’t rush the process. You know the pace at which you can work towards whatever goal you set for yourself, and you know the healthy ways to live your life. You learned it all in your recovery process; keep that learning close at hand and use it in these other areas in your life.
It is important to carry the lessons we learn in recovery with us through the rest of our lives. We don’t just leave it all behind when we leave our program, we continue to practice these things for the rest of our lives. The strength and power we gained in recovery is something you get to continue to use. That’s the point of recovery: we want to equip you with the tools you need to have the best possible life. Putting too much pressure on yourself can have the exact opposite effect on us. You put in the time to change while you were in recovery, so continue to do so now with whatever resolution you may have. Give yourself that in every adventure you take. Don’t lose sight of what you know and who you have become through recovery, that you are deserving of the life that you want.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us today at (866) 399-6528.