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New beginnings – Is it time for you to make a change?

latest blog by Ibiza Calm

Ibiza Calm - New beginnings  – Is it time for you to make a change?
22/12/2022 | category: News

New beginnings – Is it time for you to make a change?

Yes, it’s that time of year again. The lull period between the Christmas and the Hogmanay festivities gives us a chance to reflect on the 12 months just gone. Were they good? Did we achieve what we set out to do? What could we have improved on?

This January; as with others since the ancient Babylonians are said to have introduced the practice (about 2000 BC); millions of people will make resolutions promising to make improvements in their lives.

For some, it will be to eat healthier, or do more exercise, to spend less time at work and more time with the family. Or it could be to save money, travel and read more, learn a new language, the list is truly endless. For others, it will be the first, or the tenth year (or more), that we have promised ourselves that we will stop drinking, taking drugs, gambling, or any other addictive activity.

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New Year’s resolutions can be a bit of a double-edged sword. They are great if you honestly have the willingness and commitment to follow through, and of course if they are actually achievable. However, setting unobtainable or unrealistic goals can result in low self-esteem and lead to feelings of inadequacy and failure when they are not accomplished. Just adding to the pile of pressure we already put upon ourselves.

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Despite our best intentions, most of us will struggle to keep up with our resolutions past January (if indeed we get that far). According to research, well over 50% of people fail to stick to their pledges for the year ahead.

But what if that pledge is a resolution to make a life-altering and possibly a life-saving change? What if the time really has come to address that dependency on prescription medication; put down the booze for good; stop with the behaviour or activity that is destroying our marriage, health, or finances? What if it is finally the right time to ask for some help with anxiety or depression?

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The advent of a new year is the perfect time to really take stock, the holiday season is difficult for most people struggling with a substance misuse problem, an addiction, or a mental health condition. Triggers are everywhere, and emotions have been running high, so it is more than likely that the last month has been especially hard.

Has this holiday season been difficult for you? If you are thinking about getting into treatment for an addiction or mental health problem; or if you are already in recovery and want to increase your efforts, then here are some ideas to help you.

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Set SMART manageable goals

Overly ambitious, or unrealistic resolutions are only going to create extra stress when they can’t be achieved.

SMART goals are an effective way to set your resolutions. The acronym stands for –

• SPECIFIC. Define exactly what you want to gain, in detail.
• MEASURABLE. Find a way to measure your successes from the start, and then along the way.
• ACHIEVABLE. Ask yourself how you are going to do it. What action do you need to take? Do you need help?
• REALISTIC. Be sensible and practical about what is possible, and what the outcome is likely to be.
• TIMELY. Set yourself a timeframe.

This framework is perfect for people looking to get sober, or already in recovery, because it provides recommendations for how to break down vague goals into a series of steps.

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A big goal, such as getting sober, may need to be broken down into different steps or stages. These could be:

I will ask someone for help, within the next week.
I will begin a treatment program, within the next month
I will attend at least one 12-step meeting, and/or session with a counsellor, weekly.

Whilst your main goal is to stop drinking or taking drugs, the above steps are more definitive and quantifiable and easier to pursue and accomplish.

If you are already in recovery and you want goals to inspire you to maintain your recovery, you might want to try something like the following:

I will write a daily journal. Starting with one paragraph (or even one sentence) per day.
I will try a new recovery meeting, once a month.
I will schedule a self-care session, once a week.

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It is progress not perfection

Remember New Year’s resolutions don’t have to be about perfection, just progress. Every step towards a goal, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.

You don’t have to get it right straight away, humans make mistakes, so be gentle with yourself. You may also find you need to adjust your goals as you go along. This doesn’t mean you have failed; you are being practical and realistic.

Keep in mind that you can always start again, at any time. It can be quite overwhelming to think that you must do (or not do) something for a whole month, or a year! If necessary set a goal “just for today”, or even “just for this hour”. You will be amazed how quickly those hours, and then days, add up.

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Change your thought patterns

Those struggling with addiction, or suffering with a mental health condition, frequently battle with negative and destructive thought patterns. Self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love is generally lacking, and there are many feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

Setting goals that are impossible to reach makes us feel more worthless and exacerbates self-doubt and self-hatred. It is important to refocus the way we view and talk to ourselves. Making resolutions that are focused on denial or punishment are fostering negative feelings.

Try reframing the way you look at an ideal, and the way you structure a target. For instance, instead of “I must stop eating cakes, I’m fat”, reframe it with, “I will eat a healthy, balanced diet, to nourish my body, because I am worth it”.

By making simple adjustments, we are expressing love for ourselves and boosting positive emotions.

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Celebrate your successes

In addiction recovery, people who attend certain 12 step meetings are given coins or keyrings to celebrate continuous lengths of sobriety. The idea is that it is hard to commit to getting clean and sober, and successes should be celebrated. It is good for the person picking up a chip, and it is good for those around who may at that time be struggling, to see it is possible, it can be achieved.

Whatever your goal may be for the next day, week, month, or year ahead, give yourself a reward when you meet milestones. It provides you with something to look forward to; and motivates you to continue working towards the next stage. Have a sober celebration. For example, after a month of sobriety, buy yourself something new to wear, or an item that has been on your wish list for forever.

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Rehab clinic in Spain

Are you concerned about your drinking, drug taking, or addictive behaviour? Are you looking for help with a mental health condition?

Here at our luxury residential rehab centre in Ibiza we can help. We offer bespoke inpatient treatments for a variety of psychological conditions, including alcoholism, drug addiction, and process addictions such as food disorders, gambling, and codependency, as well as other mental health conditions such as anxiety, and depression.

For information on admissions to our Spanish rehab centre, contact sharon@ibizacalm.com


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