Focus on the Process in the New Year
The new year is nearly upon us, and that means many of us will be making resolutions.
Often, the resolutions we make are centered on a specific goal: lose 10 pounds, write the novel, get promoted.
And if you are in recovery, your most important goal-centered resolution is probably: stay sober.
Having goals is great. After all, goals can provide real motivation to make important changes in our lives. But as we all know, folks tend to give up on their new year’s resolutions—their specific goals—shortly after the new year gets underway. This might be because we get busy in the post-holiday period as we put the celebrations behind us and get back to our regular routine. It might be because at a certain point the goal seems too far away to be reached. It might just seem easier to fall back into old habits rather than pushing forward toward a goal.
In many cases, giving up on a new year’s resolution is not that big of a deal. But if your resolution is to stay sober, it is a very big deal. So how can you increase the likelihood that you will be able to reach your goal successfully?
One route to success would be to focus on the process rather than the product.
What Does It Mean to Focus on the Process?
Almost nothing we try to do happens in an instant. Instead, there tends to be a whole series of steps, strategies, and systems that, when taken together, might help us achieve a desired result.
Take, for example, the goal of losing 10 pounds. How might you accomplish that?
Well, you will likely need to make some changes in what, when, and how much you eat. You may want to amp up your exercise regimen as well. So, a process-oriented approach to your weight-loss resolution might look like this:
I resolve to improve my diet by replacing my usual sugary afternoon snack with a piece of fruit. Also, I will add a 10-minute walk to my daily routine.
That resolution is different from resolving to lose 10 pounds in some key ways. First, it gives you a path toward your goal that includes clear steps. Next, it allows for the changes you are making to become habits over time, and these new healthy habits are maintainable regardless of the specifics of your weight. And finally, you are able to feel a sense of accomplishment each time you eat the apple rather than the cookie—instead of postponing that sense of progress until you have achieved the specific goal of losing a predetermined amount of weight.
Applying a Process-Focused Approach to Sobriety
If you are a person in recovery from a substance use disorder, you probably have a straightforward resolution in mind. Something like: I will remain sober throughout 2022.
That is, of course, an exceptionally important goal. But it begs the same sort of question that our weight loss resolution does. How will you accomplish that goal?
A process-focused approach to sobriety would put the emphasis on the many small but important things you can do to support your sobriety day by day. Using this approach, your sobriety resolution might look something like this:
Each of those things—the meetings, the gratitude journal, the bedtime—supports your sobriety. As in the weight loss example, they also provide a daily sense of accomplishment. Maintaining your resolution becomes the stuff of day-to-day activity rather than a lofty goal that won’t come to fruition for 12 whole months.
Resolve to Get the Help You Need
If your year is winding down while you are struggling with a substance use disorder, the time to resolve to get help is right now. At French Creek Recovery Center, we offer medically supervised detoxification and a robust rehabilitation program that will help you regain and maintain your sobriety. We know that hanging on to your hard-won sobriety is a process—not a product—and we are committed to providing the support, strategies, and resources you need to begin your recovery journey on the right foot. We will also address any co-occurring mental health disorders that may be intertwined with your substance use disorder.
When it comes to getting sober, only you can get the process started. When you are ready to put drugs or alcohol behind you, you can count on our resolve to provide effective, evidence-based, compassionate care.