Now that you’re a few weeks into 2018, it’s time to take stock of how your fresh New Year’s resolutions are holding up. Have you held true to your vow to write more, lose weight or spend more time with family? If you’re like most people, chances are that your new aspirations have already begun to fall by the wayside in the hustle and bustle of daily life. But while it can be difficult to prioritize self-improvement — both in and out of addiction recovery — it’s not impossible. Here are five ways to help your resolutions stick, and make this new year the best yet:

1. Define Your Goals Clearly

The first step to changing any behavior is to clearly define what exactly you want to change. You might say that your New Year’s resolution is to “get in shape,” but what does that really mean? Do you want to lose 10 pounds? Run 5 miles without stopping? Reach a certain body fat percentage? Clearly defining your goals can help you identify the resources, strategies and tools you’ll need to accomplish them. Once you’ve done that, you can start to take small, incremental steps to achieve your resolutions.

2. Understand Your “Why”

When it comes down to it, most resolutions are just ways that people wish they could change. But without connecting these desires to larger goals or motivations, it can be all too easy to give up on them once the work of making small, daily changes begins. Take time to write down why your New Year’s resolutions are important to you and how you plan to achieve them. By clearly outlining your resolutions, you can remind yourself of the ways your goals will improve your health and happiness — if you stick with them. With these benefits in mind, you’ll be more motivated to stay committed, even when the going gets tough.

Woman writes down the motivations for her New Year's resolutions.

3. Seek Accountability

Finding ways to hold yourself accountable to your resolution can dramatically increase the odds of success. As embarrassing or vulnerable as it may make you feel, don’t shy away from talking to your family and friends about your resolutions. If someone close to you is also committed to fulfilling a New Year’s resolution, set aside time once a week to chat with them about your progress or setbacks. Joining groups of people with the same goals — like a running club or group of co-workers committed to eating healthy foods — can also be beneficial. Knowing that the people around you are also working to better themselves can make your resolution feel more attainable and help you stay encouraged.

4. Track Your Progress

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your New Year’s resolutions won’t be accomplished in a day, either. Most goals can only be achieved through daily, consistent choices. When you measure and keep track of days that you do fulfill your goals, you can easily reflect on how far you’ve come. This is particularly important on days when you need some extra motivation or encouragement. Tracking your progress can also help you identify any stalls or setbacks in the way of your goals, so you can adjust your efforts accordingly. Whether you use a phone app, spreadsheet, bullet journal, planner or a simple piece of paper, taking time every day to document your growth makes you more likely to achieve the results you want.

5. Accept Slip Ups

Don’t give up on your New Year’s resolution if you forget about it for a few days, weeks or even months. Doing something is always better than doing nothing, perfection is impossible. Progress is never linear. While your motivation levels will inevitably fluctuate, what matters is that you continue trying to improve yourself. If you can’t save a full 5 percent of your income this month because of emergency car repairs, put away as much money as you can manage. If you have a cold and feel too sick to go for a run, take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood instead. And if you forget about your resolutions for a few weeks after a breakup, forgive yourself. As life coach and author Tony Robbins says, “No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

Accomplishing your goals is rarely easy, but it’s always worth it. The hard work you put in now could reward and enhance your life in ways that you might not be able to imagine. So push past your initial discomfort, brave through blunders, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself in the process.

You deserve the genuine happiness that comes from accomplishing your goals, not the temporary high that substances bring. If you struggle with drugs or alcohol and want to turn over a new leaf this year, The Recovery Village can help. Each call to our center is completely confidential, and there’s no obligation to enroll in treatment. The care you need is closer than you think. Reach out to  352.771.2700 today to get started.