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How to Stick with a Sober New Year’s Resolution

The promise of a new year offers a time to start fresh and develop healthier habits. For many people, whether it is for health reasons, to save money, or for self-improvement, this means getting sober. While the new year can be a motivating time to begin recovery, it’s important to acknowledge that recovery isn’t just a one-time decision; it is a daily, life-long choice. According to the American Psychological Association, making big, life-changing resolutions, without planning realistic ways to achieve them, could set you up to fail. Here are six essential tips to help you keep your New Year’s resolution to be sober in 2024:

  1. Take it one day at a time. Simply deciding that you’re going to commit to sobriety once isn’t enough. If you truly want to make a lasting change in your life, you have to recommit to sobriety every day. Focusing on staying sober for one day instead of for the entire year can make your goal seem more achievable. 
  1. Be specific about your goal. Being specific about your resolution will help you achieve your goal. First, make sure you understand why you want this goal. Whatever the reason, make sure YOU know it. Share it with others if you feel comfortable doing so. Then, set a clear action plan. Define the steps you will take to make your sobriety a reality. 
  1. Stay away from tempting or challenging situations. Social settings like parties, restaurants, and bars can tempt people to stray from their resolution to be sober. If you find yourself in a situation that could challenge your commitment to your goal, it’s okay to leave or turn down the invitation. Try spending time with people in settings that do not involve alcohol. 
  1. Build a support network. Challenging things, like getting sober, are not meant to be faced alone. Build a network of people who will support and encourage you; it could be family members, friends, a sponsor, or someone else. 
  1. Engage in activities that you enjoy or try something new. Depending on how much your relationships and hobbies involved alcohol, choosing to be sober could mean fundamentally changing how you think about and spend your free time. It’s important to find ways to de-stress and relax without alcohol. Engage in activities that bring you joy. 
  1. Forgive yourself for slipping up. Coping with new changes isn’t always easy; we all stumble. But it’s important to realize that just because you stumble, that doesn’t mean you have to give up. Use these moments to learn and grow. Recognize the mistake, address it head-on, and forgive yourself. How you choose to react will help you get back on – and stay on – track.

Penn Foundation helps many individuals in our community looking to jumpstart or maintain their sobriety. To learn more about how we can help you, visit our website at www.PennFoundation.org.