Setting a date, such as January 1st, is a good strategy for making changes in your life. But where should you start? For many people, change doesn't happen overnight, and usually goes through stages. Here are some suggestions for each stage of change:
If you are don't want to quit, but would like a healthier lifestyle:
- Find out more about how your addictive behavior might be affecting your health and relationships in the long-term, so you can prevent problems from occurring.
- Talk to your doctor about starting a form of exercise three times a week. This will benefit your mental and physical health, and help with sleep. But take care not to take it too far and develop exercise addiction.
- Think about improving your diet. Nutritional recovery is the foundation of reversing the physical harm caused by alcohol and drugs.
- Read more about the precontemplation stage.
If you are thinking about changing your addictive behavior, but don't know where to start:
- Talk to your family doctor about whether you need detox to come off alcohol or drugs safely.
- Divide a sheet of paper in half. On one side, write all the positive things about your addictive behavior, and on the other side, write all the negative things about it. Do the negatives outweigh the positives?
- Look at the positive things you are getting from your addictive behavior (relaxation, social life, energy etc). Start to think of ways you can get these needs met without the addiction.
- Read more about the contemplation stage.
If you know you are ready to quit:
Once you have got started, read more about the action stage, and the maintenance stage.
Happy New Year!