Flipping to a new year on the calendar doesn’t automatically mean that everything magically changes. While it can certainly inspire hope, a new year creates positive change most successfully when people establish a plan and take action. So how might this approach work for you in the coming year?
What Do You Hope to Achieve?
Many people aren’t into resolutions, which is totally fine. But to live with purpose and strive for a better life, most individuals have goals, which change frequently based on where they are in life.
For example, now that you’re in recovery, what matters to you? More spiritual grounding? Improved relationships? A shift in career? A more solid financial foundation? The chance to be more creative? A stronger commitment to wellness? These are just a small sample of the numerous aspirations people have as they continue to evolve.
If this whole process is new to you, that’s okay. Maybe sobriety clarity is fresh, and you’re simply focused on getting back into “real life” again—which in itself is a wonderful, progressive goal. So, allow yourself to daydream for a few days and jot down what comes to mind. What truly resonates with you will become clearer eventually, and then you can take steps to make it happen.
How to Become More Motivated
One key component to achieving your goals is understanding motivation. Often defined as “the desire to act in service of a goal,” motivation is the engine that powers your sense of purpose and accomplishment.
Motivation has two primary sources:
- Extrinsic—this type, usually short term, often has incentives or rewards, such as more money, acknowledgement, or some other external reward for your effort.
- Intrinsic—this stems from who you are, your wants and desires, and what matters to you. Because it’s internal, you’re not driven by deadlines or rewards: you do something because it’s part of your identity.
One form of motivation isn’t necessarily better than the other: in fact, we often require both, depending on the circumstances and our objectives. Other types include cultivating a sense of enjoyment, curiosity, validation of beliefs and identity, and building self-image.
As you envision what you’d like to happen in the next year, recognizing the importance of motivation and how it contributes to what you’d like to achieve is essential to your continued success. Interestingly, enhancing your motivation might be your first goal! The Mental Health Foundation of the United Kingdom suggests these helpful tips:
- Segment tasks into “manageable chunks”
- Write down positive experiences each day
- Give yourself credit for the small things
- Carve out some “me time”
- Be compassionate with yourself
- Stay in the present moment
- Use inspirational media and events
- Ask for help
Also recognize that some days, you’ll have very little motivation at all. So use this list—even one or two points from it are fine—to stay on target. You can always go gangbusters tomorrow.
Set Measurable Goals
Take a tip from business experts: it’s far more effective to design goals with action steps than just relying on wishful thinking. If you’re using a recovery support system and working “the Steps” or some other program, you’re already familiar with how tracking incremental progress toward a particular purpose makes all the difference in achievement. So, here’s how to approach the goals you’d like to accomplish in the new year:
- Be specific. Determine what you’re trying to accomplish and what needs to be done to do it. Then identify what roadblocks there might be and how to solve them.
- Measure your progress. Goals without monthly, weekly, or even daily steps can seem rather arbitrary. Instead, create these benchmarks to help see how close you are to accomplishing a goal.
- Have a timeline. Although we’re talking about the entire new year, some goals might not take that long at all, while others require you to lay the groundwork for continued progress. So it’s totally fine to make different timelines for various goals, but make them exact—if they don’t have a beginning, middle, and end date, it’s too easy to avoid them.
- Do what you want. The true key to accomplishment is exploring what matters most to you—if someone else says you must do this or that, it doesn’t usually add to your motivation.
- Write down your goals. Psychology researchers have actually studied the impact of writing down goals. More than 40 percent of the time, people who did so were more successful than people who weren’t. So, map out the steps you need to take and how to get there. Here’s an example of a goal tracking worksheet that might help.
Some actions might overlap, while others need to stand alone. Either way, these action points should get you closer to the finish line.
Where There’s a Will, There’s Willingway
More than just an inpatient rehabilitation facility in Georgia, our team of experts recognize there’s much more to you, too. Dedicating yourself to sobriety is just one step in a rich, purposeful life, so our board-certified professionals want to expand your horizons not just for the coming new year, but all the years to follow. If you or a loved one is ready for a fresh start, please give us a call.