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Mental Health Symptoms People Don’t Talk About

Setting Goals for Your Mental Health in the New Year

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As we dive deep into the holiday season, the new year is right around the corner. Welcoming 2022 may seem daunting as the COVID pandemic and economy still worry many people about their futures. However, the New Year can be a fresh start, a way to celebrate your recovery and kickstart your mental health routine. It is important to note that setting goals for the New Year while in recovery is vastly different from adopting New Year’s resolutions, which are often broken, leading many to feel as though they have failed.

We have lots of things we want to change, and this New Year’s marks a new beginning, which seems like the best time to start. But, unfortunately, every year, millions of individuals make a list of New Year’s resolutions. By midyear, they are broken. By the end of the year, very few things, if any, have changed. Before you know it, you’re making another list for the subsequent year


Setting goals for the New Year is essential for your recovery journey. Keep in mind that setting goals are different from having a dream. Goals are tangible, realistic, measurable plans for your future, whereas dreams are pleasant thoughts that often do not require any effort. Many New Year’s resolutions are pipeline dreams. As we approach the New Year, setting goals in recovery requires you to dive deep and practice self-examination, positive thinking, and self-motivation. Setting goals means that you care about your future.

Brainstorming goals in recovery

Making a goal for the New Year can be difficult as many individuals do not even know where to start. For example, saying you will lose 10 pounds, run a marathon, or stop drinking may be good goals to make, but they may not change your happiness. Often, brainstorming goals for the New Year requires a lot of self-reflection, which can be very cathartic in your recovery journey. The following are a few prompts you can use to help brainstorm goals you may want to establish in the New Year:

What would you like to be different about your current situation?
What do you like about your life now?
What is your most outstanding achievement?
What do you miss about your life before recovery?
What makes you feel better, if only for a second?
What do you hope to be doing one year from now?


Goals should be manageable and measurable.

Setting manageable goals

Manageable goals can be challenging to set because we often set the bar too high, meaning we make dreams rather than set goals. Saying things like “I will not relapse,” “I will exercise every day,” “I will attend support meetings every day,” “I will not give in to urges or cravings,” “I will not self-sabotage” are unmanageable goals because they are unrealistic. In other words, these are dreams. Relapse, cravings, and urges are part of the reality of recovery, and instead of saying these things will not happen in 2022, more manageable goals for your recovery may include the following:

Attending a community support meeting once a week
Enrolling in therapy
Making a relapse prevention plan
Making a relapse emergency plan (what to do if you relapse)
Learning to experience recovery one day at a time
Spending five minutes a day in meditation
Adopting one positive coping skill and forgoing one negative coping skill

Setting measurable goals

How do you know if you are working towards a goal if you cannot measure your progress? First, try setting goals that you can specifically measure. These can include:

Counting and celebrating every day you remain in recovery
Keeping track of the number of recovery meetings you attend
Adopting a healthier nutrition plan by adding a salad once a day
Set time aside each week or month to meet with a friend if your goal is to re-establish a relationship.

Putting your recovery goals into action

Be flexible (sometimes things do not go as planned, and that is okay)
Hold yourself accountable (this may include using apps or calendars to chart your progress or having an accountability partner or friend)
Set short-term and long-term goals (Smaller, more immediate, and realistic goals can help generate momentum in the recovery process. Goals like getting out of bed at a specific time can help you stay motivated so that you can work towards long-term goals, such as reconnecting with loved ones).

​​How AKUA Mind and Body can help you with your 2022 recovery goals

AKUA Mind and Body is a full-service mental health and addiction treatment center with locations across California. Our treatment and ancillary staff understand the importance of realistic goal setting in recovery. We also know that poor goal-setting methods can hinder your recovery process rather than help it. As a result, we want to help you set realistic and measurable goals to have success in your recovery journey. If you live with a mental health or substance use disorder but feel your symptoms are not in control, you may benefit from our professional treatment services. We want to help you set and obtain your recovery goals, regardless of where you are in your recovery journey.

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