At the end of each year, many of us reflect on things we would like to improve or bad habits we would like to quit. Some will foster these thoughts into resolutions for the New Year. Often these resolutions set lofty expectations that are difficult to meet, at least in the immediate turn of the calendar. Soon, many of us leave our resolutions behind as the daily grind takes over and we postpone our resolutions for another year.

Although your recovery should be separate from your resolutions, leverage the promise of a New Year to strengthen your journey. Consider the following options for self-improvement as you plan your resolutions and personal goals for the New Year:

Simplify Your Life

Clear out the clutter from your mind – and your closet. Make a manageable schedule for the year and stick to scheduled days and times for washing the car, cleaning out the garage and fridge, organizing your closets. Include deliveries of your unwanted items to local charities and reinforce the positive energy.

Explore Your Creativity

Develop an outlet for self-expression through creativity. Try your hand at painting or photography, take up knitting quilts for family and friends, write short stories or poetry, take a pottery class – artistic expression is a beautiful way to share your story. You may find a hidden talent. Share your creative pursuits with others.

Give Back

Few things are as fulfilling as giving back to the community. Helping others new to recovery or getting involved in service with your AA group are great places to start. Serve meals at a homeless shelter, volunteer at a food bank or find an opportunity that can use your specific skill set.

Eat Healthy

Build a healthy eating and nutrition plan that will fuel your recovery success. Read our tips on how to “Feed Your Success.”

Get Active

A healthy body and healthy mind are essential to staying on track with your recovery. For example, if lifting weights or running 10Ks are not your thing, try taking a brisk walk or go for a swim. In addition to staying physically active, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial.

Learn to Meditate

Meditation is a powerful, essential tool in developing mindfulness. Empower your recovery by starting with a meditation practice focused on gratitude. Begin your day in gratitude. Reserve five minutes each morning to offer appreciation. Keep it simple or more profound, but make sure to start each morning in thankfulness and set the tone for the day. As you build your routine, expand your meditation practice.

Strengthen Relationships

Breathe fresh air into your relationships. If needed, have those tough conversations, then commit to building a new foundation of kind, constant and honest communication. Show appreciation for the people you love through random acts of kindness. Furthermore, be present in the time you spend and make sure your loved ones know what they mean to you.

Develop a New Skill

By developing a new skill or engaging in new healthy hobby, you can expand your mind and your network. Social hobbies like sports and personal hobbies like bird watching, metal/wood fabrication or learning a new language or instrument – they all have incredible benefits.

Deepen Your Spirituality

Through meditation and mindfulness, you will strengthen your spirituality and connection to your higher power. Fold in additional practices such as attending church services, engaging in church or spiritual activities, praying, connecting with fellow churchgoers, reading inspirational, spiritual books and affirmations and integrating spirituality into your interactions and relationships.

Read More

Put the phone down and turn off the TV. Integrate reading into your extracurricular schedule. Be sure to include inspirational and motivational books in the mix. And, set a goal for how many books you aim to read in the coming year. Then have fun picking and choosing the titles that will make your cut. Be sure to keep it positive and focus on learning something from each book.