When was the last time you made a New Year’s resolution that you actually stuck to? If you can’t remember, you’re not alone. Apparently, 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year but only 8% will maintain them throughout the year. 8% – that’s it!
When Tawny Lara of SobrieTea Party published a blog post about saying no to resolutions, we knew we had to ask her to be on our show. So we called her up and because she’s awesome, she obliged.
Deb spoke with Tawny about her decision to not make any resolutions this new year, how making lofty goals can be dangerous to your recovery, how “mindfulness” is becoming an overused buzzword, what a sobriety tourist is, as well as some tips on how to be more realistic with your goals.
On Not Making New Year’s Resolutions This Year
“Especially for someone with an addictive personality, or someone who’s in recovery. I found that my recovery needs to remain my number one priority more than pursuing a goal or something I’ve got to do. Sometimes, there are some days where the biggest goal is just not to drink, and that’s more than enough.
It’s not always glamorous or pretty, but if you really want to do something then you would find a way to do it and you don’t need a calendar on a change in order for you to do it. If you really want to implement something into your lifestyle then you would find a way to make it work, you would make it a priority. That’s how that’s how you make it happen.”
The Dangers of Making Unrealistic Goals in Early Recovery
“I think for me with having an addictive personality is that it wasn’t strictly just for drugs and alcohol it was for—it still is for other things, such as the self-help world and goal setting. I found that I had a very unhealthy relationship with the self-help world and goal setting because, you know I would read self-help book after self-help book and attend seminars and I would get fired up, and you know would try to change all of these things about myself; and it was coming from this dark place of where I actually hated myself, it wasn’t empowering.
I’m sure there are people out there that can read a self-help book in moderation and be empowered by it. That wasn’t the case for me, I read these books and I was just like “oh ok this, this, and this is what’s wrong with me, I need to change this about myself” and then I would be happy. And it was a very unhealthy relationship, and very similar with goal setting I would set horribly unrealistic goals that I had no control over, and then I would beat myself up whenever they didn’t come true. It was another form of self-destruction for me.”
How Mindfulness is Just a Buzzword
“Mindfulness is such a trendy blog word. I think it can kind of lose its meaning or maybe it just has a bunch of different meanings to different people. For me, mindfulness is being intentional. It’s being aware of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Mindfulness doesn’t need to be applied to everything. There are times when life sucks, and I want to check out, and I want to be completely mindless and watch TV for 2 hours. And that’s okay. Then there are times when it’s like “Okay, I’ve been watching TV for 2 hours, that’s enough. Now, what else can I do to deal with what I’m trying to hide from?” I think it’s awareness and intention.”
What is a Sobriety Tourist?
“A sobriety tourist is someone who wants to tour the lifestyle of sobriety, someone who you know does dry January, someone who would give up alcohol for 6 months or 3 months, or whatever they choose to do. I think it’s great, I think more people should try abstinence every once in a while, but I think there’s a right way to do it and I think there’s, some offensive ways of doing it. Sobriety is a lifestyle for me, it’s not just saying I’m touring, it’s a lifestyle and while some people can try it on for a month or two I can’t do that. And I’ve experienced some people who would tell me “oh I did dry January or some whole thirty, and I went out a couple of times and I understand what you’re going through”, and it’s just like “do you?”, you know “it’s cool that you’re doing this” I really think more people should try abstinence with substances; but it goes back to being mindful about it, like just “why are you doing this?”, and if you just want to see how long you can go without drinking great! but that doesn’t mean you can relate to the recovery.”
Tips on Realistic Goals in Recovery
1. Figure out why you want to accomplish that goal in the first place. Write it down and remember it.
2. Make sure that you’re in action and do things that support this goal.
3. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve it “fast enough.”
Listen to the entire episode here: