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4 Habits to Strengthen Your Recovery Plan [Updated May 23, 2019]
May 23, 2019
A successful recovery plan for lasting sobriety includes making good choices and forming good habits. And when you make good choices, the habits will strengthen your recovery plan and position you for success. During your recovery, one of the biggest challenges is making healthy changes in your daily living.
These healthy lifestyle changes are crucial for preventing a lapse or relapse in early recovery. Changing your habits to strengthen your recovery plan means making healthier choices across all domains of your life. And while it may not be easy at first, you can make the necessary changes that turn into lifelong, healthy habits.
How to Strengthen Your Recovery Plan: Take It Slow
Changing too many habits at once or trying to make big lifestyle changes in early recovery can backfire. And when it backfires, you are eroding your self-confidence and adding extra stress to your life.
Instead, start by making small adjustments and changes. For example, instead of making radical changes to your diet, simply eat more fruits and vegetables for a couple of weeks. Then you can make other simple, small, and sustainable changes.
It’s important to remember that forming new habits takes time. So do not beat yourself up if you slip up or forget for a day. Just keep practicing your new habits regularly. And soon, before you know it, these habits will become your routine.
Here are four excellent habits to strengthen the chances of success for your recovery plan.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse stresses that personal vigilance against relapse is paramount to successful recovery.1 This information makes mindfulness one of the most important habits to strengthen your recovery. Staying mindful means being aware of your moods, attitudes, thought patterns and behaviors. And all of these things affect your ability to adhere successfully to your recovery plan.
But mindfulness takes practice. And meditation is one of the best ways to achieve mindfulness. Strive to meditate for at least 15 minutes a day. After you have that down, you can work your way up to a half hour or more.
With regular practice, you will quickly notice a difference in your stress and anxiety levels. As a result, you will notice improvement in your general self-awareness and your mindfulness in recovery as well.
Exercise offers numerous benefits for people in recovery. For example, research shows that regular exercise:
- Reduces stress
- Reduces cravings
- Decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improves overall physical health and wellbeing
- Increases self-esteem and self-confidence
- Helps you sleep better and more regularly
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
While exercise may seem difficult at first, you do not have to approach exercise as an all-or-nothing commitment. Above all, it is important to simply begin adding exercise into your life in any capacity. As a result, you will notice it getting easier to get moving and get motivated.
For the best results, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. That means you only need 30 minutes a day, five days a week.2
3. Pick up a new hobby
Staying busy in recovery can help ward off cravings and negative thoughts. Plus, creating new hobbies in recovery is shown to have numerous benefits. And the best part is that the actual type of hobby itself is almost irrelevant.
That means you can find a hobby that suits you. So whether you’re athletic, artistic, musical, a good writer or have other interests and talents, you can find a hobby that fits your plan for recovery. Making a habit of your hobby is one of the best habits to strengthen your recovery, because it:
- Gives you opportunities to meet new people and bond over a shared interest
- Reduces stress
- Gives your life additional purpose and meaning
- Helps you express yourself in new and beneficial ways
- Wards off boredom, feelings of isolation and other negative emotions that can trigger a relapse
So here’s the important thing – find a hobby and get started. If it is not the perfect fit, you can always pick up a different hobby or try something else. But, when you get started with something, you’re strengthening your plan for recovery and lasting sobriety.
4. Take excellent care of yourself
Self-care is a critical factor for successful recovery. Developing a self-care routine and forming new self-care habits can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. After all, good self-care has a profound impact on your view of the world and your attitude toward recovery. Therefore, it’s important to take care of yourself for a lot more than just your physical appearance.
Some good self-care habits to get into during early recovery include:
- Getting adequate sleep each night
- Eating healthy food
- Reducing your stress
- Getting sufficient relaxation time each day
- Paying attention to grooming so you feel your best
- Setting boundaries
- Laughing every day
- Enjoying yourself with friends and family
As you probably know, staying in recovery takes a lot of work. And taking steps to improve your quality of life and sense of well-being will go a long way toward forming new habits to strengthen your recovery and your plan for lifelong sobriety.
Access Your Inner Maximum Strength
You can access your own Maximum Strength in your recovery plan. If you need help, then you might find it in reading a good book. Maximum Strength contains a detailed look at my own struggles with addiction and the cycle of rehab and relapse. It describes how I was able to overcome my struggles after nearly two decades of addiction.
Since achieving lasting sobriety more than 12 years ago, I have made it my mission to help people through this recovery process. I’ve helped thousands navigate a broken treatment system and conquer their addictions.
This book is here to help you heal. It is here to help you find real solutions. And most importantly, it is here to help you or a loved one get sober for good.
You can order your copy here or by ordering through Amazon.
UPDATE: Added additional information to the four main habits. Added Maximum Strength.