Photo of addiction peer coach Heather Lister

Ask a coach

Heather has extensive experience helping mothers in recovery and people with mental health issues.

Q: How can I make sure I stick to my goals for the year?

A: I thought this would be a good topic to tackle in January, when many may already be struggling with their New Year’s resolutions or goals for the decade. 

The important thing about goal setting and progress, especially for those who are in early addiction recovery, is simplicity. I can’t stress simplifying enough.

Addiction takes a significant toll on someone’s life in so many ways, including their health and ability to make decisions and juggle daily responsibilities. It’s important for newly-sober people to be reasonable in their expectations of themselves; they need time to heal, learn new skills and practice them.  

Here’s a blog from last year for more on entering addiction wellness. Whether your goal deals with reducing substances or not, keep moving forward, even if only through small steps or milestones. 

Another important component of maintaining motivation is creativity. As a mom of three young kids, I have a lot of firsthand experience finding unique ways to get things done. I often think the same things I hear from members, especially “I don’t have enough time.”

That may be true, but there are plenty of ways to be resourceful with your time. From going to the gym or attending daily 12-step meetings, you can come up unique approaches to get what you need while maintaining your schedule. Trying at-home workouts, listening to speaker tapes in the car – there are plenty of options that won’t disrupt your other daily tasks.

My last reminder is to cut yourself some slack. You don’t have to tackle everything at once. And if you’re new to addiction wellness, you probably shouldn’t. There will be setbacks – try to frame them as opportunities to check-in and reset. If something’s not working, brainstorm.


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