The end of June marks the halfway point of the year. How has your sobriety gone so far in this strange and crazy year? Has the world slowdown helped you achieve goals and build confidence or has it added stress and put a strain on your sobriety? Whichever the case, let’s talk about how you can do a little planning now to set yourself up for a successful sober second half of the year.
Review the first half-year of sobriety
I, personally, don’t make New Year’s resolutions. And from my experience, most guys recovering from substance abuse aren’t usually too keen on resolutions. What I do instead is set some S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) goals for the year ahead. Regardless if you have resolutions, set goals, or just have some things you want to achieve, now is a great time to review where you are at in your sober lifestyle. Sit down and spend some time deliberately thinking about how the past six months have gone for you. It’s even better if you write down or type out your thoughts. Some things to ask yourself include:
- Are you happy with how your sober lifestyle has gone so far?
- In which areas have you stayed on track?
- In which areas have things not gone so well?
- In which areas have you exceeded your expectations?
- Are you where you want to be in your overall sober journey?
- Have there been any unexpected events that have slowed down or stopped you?
- What grade would you give yourself and your sober lifestyle over the past six months?
It has been a tough year thus far for many, so if you’re not happy with your sober journey give yourself a break. We all had an unexpected event happen to us. If you are happy with where you’re at, give yourself credit. It’s a huge accomplishment to do well in the face of adversity!
The healthy way to analyze your year so far is to be kind to yourself either way. Take responsibility for your actions and admit things could have gone better but you did the best you could. Or, take pride in what you accomplished in the midst of tough circumstances for everyone. The key is to own it and make peace with the past. What happened has happened and the point of this exercise is to recognize that you have the chance to make the next six months better.
Establish a plan and set sober goals
Now, let’s make some adjustments to our goals or set new ones based on our current situation. Start by identifying which areas you wish to maintain your progress in. This gives us something to build upon. If you are happy with how much money you have saved so far, note what you have done to achieve that success. If you’re just happy with the fact that you haven’t drank, note what actions have led to that achievement. The goal is to single out those areas in which you know that you can thrive.
Then, identify the areas in which you didn’t quite succeed as you had hoped. Think about what happened that caused you to underachieve. Maybe you couldn’t work as much and weren’t able to meet your financial goals. Maybe you didn’t workout as much as you wanted to. Either way, note the causes, both internal and external. It’s important not to blame everything on external causes though. COVID disrupted everyone’s lives but we need to also take responsibility. Note what you could have done to make progress in each area despite the external influences.
Next, let’s list out some things that you want to achieve by year’s end. Make sure those goals are based on where you’re actually at in your journey and not just re-hashing old goals or resolutions. We want to be sure that these goals are realistic. They need to be achievable and there needs to be some sort of way to measure your progress. If you want to save $XXX amount of dollars in the next six months, take into account your budget and how much you can realistically save, not just how much you want to save. Goals can work against us if they aren’t realistic and we don’t see ourselves actually making progress towards them. They don’t have to be perfect and you probably won’t accomplish every single one but the important part is to have a goal to strive for.
Break goals down into milestones
Finally, set some milestones for the overall goals you just listed. Give yourself some sort of benchmark for where you want to be in relation to your goal at the end of each month or the end of three months. You’ll build confidence and stay inspired if you see yourself making that progress. Again, keep things realistic. Only you can determine what is realistic, but more importantly, only you can determine what is unrealistic. Break your goals down into smaller parts and set a timeline for achieving each part. You want manageable steps towards the larger goals.
Once you’ve created goals that are based on where you currently are, can be realistically achieved, and have been broken down into attainable chunks, give yourself some credit for taking the time to do so. You’re already leaps and bounds ahead of most who haven’t taken the time to plan out their sober journey. It’s difficult to get where you are going if you don’t know where you want to end up.
Keep yourself motivated for a sober lifestyle
Let’s talk about staying inspired and actually following through with your plan. It’s important to keep in mind that not everything will go exactly as planned. Keep that in mind as you go about your day-to-day life. These goals and plans are flexible. They can be adjusted. You can scratch them out or backspace the keyboard to make adjustments at any time. You set these for yourself and you reserve the right to change your mind. If you adjust your expectations as you go, you are much more likely to keep progressing long-term, even if it’s at a slower pace than planned. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break, especially if you’re doing the best you can. Create some rewards for yourself for achieving your milestones and some big rewards for achieving your overall goals. Buy yourself something nice or treat yourself to something that you want. Be creative and go as big or as small as you want. Even the smallest reward can make a huge difference in your confidence.
Lastly, keep in mind that this is an opportunity to start fresh. There’s no rule that says you can only make goals or resolutions on New Years’. Put the past in its place in the rearview mirror and use what you have learned from it to succeed moving forward. Treat each day as a new opportunity to achieve your dreams. With an open mind and general roadmap for what you want to achieve, each day is its own adventure. If you need extra help to stay on track, find an accountability partner. It can be someone you know well or even someone you don’t. Hell, message me and I’ll set reminders to check in with you periodically to see how you’re doing. Do what it takes to make yourself successful. You didn’t get sober to live mundanely and bounce around through life. You chose to be sober so you could be better. Make the most of this opportunity!
Share & Connect with OWN Sobriety
What are some of your goals for the next six months? Share them below or on the posts of any of my social media channels. You can find and message me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at the handle “OWNSobriety”. Be sure to enter your email on this page or text the word “SOBER” to 66866 to receive updates to this blog and the awesome plans I have in store for OWN Sobriety.