A Calendar of Life Hacks for Addiction Recovery

A-Calendar-of-Lifehacks

Happy New Year, everyone! Hopefully, you’ve made resolutions to keep every day of 2016 fulfilling and purposeful. Here’s our calendar of life hacks, one for every month of the year.

January

While your New Year’s resolutions are still new, mark off specific time on your calendar—every day or week—for working on each of your top three resolutions. As perhaps the most important month in our calendar of life hacks, don’t give inattention and busyness a chance to erode your good intentions!

February

If a certain rodent sees his shadow on Groundhog Day, so the story goes, he’ll bolt back into his hole for six weeks. Don’t be a groundhog who panics and backs away from a new venture at the first hint of trouble; that frightening thing in your path is often a harmless shadow. No one gets anywhere by going back to bed.

March

They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb; however, most human endeavors fare better when the lamb leads. Gentle charm is many a born leader’s secret weapon: listen before you talk; let the other party go first when you can; share the credit for accomplishments; and don’t “roar” at every perceived threat to your pride.

April

As the fourth month opens with April Fool’s Day, so any day is well begun with a little lightheartedness. Instead of tuning in the news first thing (why subject yourself to temptations to reconsider if the world is worth facing?), find some good humorous and inspirational material to open each morning.

May

Traditionally, May Day (May 1) is celebrated with flowers, singing, and dancing. Set aside a nice spring Saturday to take family or friends on a picnic, breathe in the outdoors, and have some giddy fun together.

June

The sixth month of the year marks the beginning of vacation season and wedding season—both usually times of extensive planning for a time worth remembering, and both often best remembered for the one hilarious disaster that tripped up the “nothing must go wrong” planning. Whether you’ve got a big special occasion in the works, or find enough challenge in getting through a “normal” day, your best-laid plans will hit a bump from time to time. When this happens, don’t wail “everything is ruined.” You’ll look back at it and laugh someday; why not laugh at it today?

July

This month seems to be a natural for independence celebrations and national pride: not only does the U. S. have its Independence Day on July 4, but Canadians have Canada Day on July 1, and France has La Fête Nationale on July 14. Even if this isn’t officially your first monthly or annual anniversary of freedom from substance abuse, there’s no rule against celebrating one’s 65th day of sobriety. Go ahead and invite some friends over for cake and a little loud silliness. Revel in your freedom.

August

Things tend to get hot and lazy by this time of the summer. If you need an afternoon nap, by all means take one (keeping within office regulations on work days, of course). You may be surprised how much more you get done by going refreshed into the later, cooler hours.

September

Kids are back in school by this time of year. Even if you have no plans for further formal education, try to learn something new every day; it keeps your brain healthy. Read a classic story, look up the news behind the headlines, watch a documentary instead of a sitcom, invite someone to a friendly debate and really listen to their side.

October

Throughout much of the Northern Hemisphere, autumn is at its most beautiful in early October. Don’t wait for a full day off to appreciate this. Every time you step outdoors—even for a two-minute walk to your car—pause long enough to let all five of your senses taste the cool in the air, the colors of the leaves, the sound of the wind, and the aromas of the season.

November

Many people—the first taste of upcoming holidays notwithstanding—find November the gloomiest month of the year as daily temperatures and periods of sunlight continue to shrink. Feelings of depression put you at high risk for substance-abuse relapses; especially if this is your first autumn of sobriety, make a written plan to avoid triggers, to take special care of your health, and to leave plenty of time for good clean fun.

December

The year wraps up with the month of gift-giving. Give yourself the gift of daily quiet time, and give your loved ones the gift of being your kindest and most generous self!

Have a happy and healthy 2016!

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