We know that motivation plays a crucial role in recovery, but how does it work? Researchers studied a group of people who learned to stay sober on their own with no help from support groups, counselors, or anyone else. They found out that change came when the individuals realized they had more to lose than to gain from their addictions, but there was also a second requirement. In order to stay motivated, they had to believe that recovery was possible.
The Keys to Staying Motivated
All the magic formulas for staying motivated and accomplishing great goals fail if we don’t take it day-by-day. Thomas Edison said about inventing the lightbulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” He also said, “The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” The key staying motivated is knowing that change is possible and not giving up. It may also help to remember these inspirational tips:
- Set a goal and visualize exactly how you what it to look when you achieve it.
- Break it into smaller pieces and choose rewards for reaching milestones.
- Make a list of the reasons you want to change and write them down.
- Decide when you start what you will do when you begin to slack off.
- If your plan isn’t working, be prepared to make changes that do.
- Remember that change is possible. It’s always possible to start over.
Seven Steps for Staying Sober
Everybody gets discouraged, and everybody has setbacks. This can occur as a result of illness, stress, or even loneliness. People who are successful, however, don’t throw in the towel because of temporary challenges. They are kind to themselves, and they give each day a fresh start. Different things work for different people, but one or more of the following inspirational practices may help you stay on track:
Find a support group or recovery community and stay connected.
Studies show that people who feel connected to a community stay healthier, feel happier, and live longer.
Keep a written journal to track your progress and remind yourself how far you’ve come.
The benefits of journaling include better physical, emotional, and mental health. Students even score higher on tests when they write about their fears beforehand.
Make a list of things you are grateful for every day.
A gratitude list causes us to notice and appreciate the little things we take for granted every day. Writing in longhand has the added benefit of making a stronger impression on the memory.
Set small goals and reward yourself when you achieve them.
It’s easy to get discouraged over the long haul, but carefully defining and rewarding the little steps along the way make it easier to stay motivated.
Participate in a twelve-step program.
Twelve-step programs offer support, guidance, and community, but they also provide a chance to help others and to lower feelings of isolation.
Take care of your mind, body, and spirit.
Medical professionals are now accepting the value of practices like meditation, yoga, journaling, and prayer to reduce stress and improve moods. Belief in a higher power, in whatever way an individual chooses, gives meaning and purpose to life.
Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and get enough sleep.
Science shows that eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and keeping a good bedtime routine improve mental and physical health.
J.K. Rawlings, the acclaimed author of the Harry Pottery series says, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” That can be true of any person on the path to staying sober.