When thinking of the New Year approaching, we naturally start thinking about goals to set for the upcoming year. When establishing goals for the next year, there is one factor that I challenge most of my clients to seriously consider. This factor is that of authenticity. Authenticity when establishing any New Years Resolution is often the key to whether we make life long changes or not. In other words, are you making these commitments to change for yourself, or are you making them to appease or even appeal to others?

Many times, we make resolutions that are much more externally motivated, rather than internally motivated. This is not to say that external motivation is bad, but internal motivation is much more powerful. The best way to do this is to identify what it is that you value, and knowing why you value it. These values may be things that you’re currently being congruent with, but they also might be things that you aspire to be. Therefore, don’t cut them out just because you’re not currently fully engaging in them. A great resource for assessing your values is by looking at a list of values and prioritizing them until you get to your top ten. Once you get your list of top ten values, compare it with your goals for the upcoming year, and see how well they match.

The importance of such a list for many addicts is that they often are still engaging in addict thinking, without knowing that they are doing so. Keep on the lookout for goals that surround intensity and attention-seeking. These often are disguised and even rationalized as success, but are really the brain’s way of triggering the addict part of yourself, without much serious balance. Always keep those values in mind when you set goals. Go over them with your sponsor and your therapist, and in time you’ll have a working list of goals that won’t make you give up your authenticity in the process.

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