Intrinsic Motivation: Becoming Who You Want to Be

Intrinsic Motivation: Becoming Who You Want to Be

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Writer, Lecturer, and Philosopher

Recovery is both difficult and rewarding. Much of our success can depend upon our motivations to begin seeking growth and change. We may have wanted to change our addictive behaviors for some time now and recently made the first step towards growth.

We may have been encouraged by family members to make a positive change. Those who care for us want to see us happy and healthy. They know that we deserve better for ourselves. We know that our loved ones also deserve the best version of ourselves.

Staying motivated during recovery can be a challenge. We will need to make changes that may be difficult. We may need to abandon old habits and build new skills to better cope with the stressors of life. When we are motivated from within ourselves, or intrinsically motivated, we may be more successful in our recovery.

Positive Feelings and Personal Initiatives

While many of us may have had others urge us to seek recovery from our addictions, we are the ones who have to make the change. No one can recover for us. To paraphrase the opening quote, who we decide to become will determine who we will be!

We must make this decision, even if others are giving us feedback and advice. When we take the initiative to make positive changes, we will be motivating ourselves to seek what makes us feel good. We consider what we enjoy doing or what inspires us and grow by creating a positive feedback loop.

We seek growth and change simply because these things make us feel good. Intrinsic motivation is our internal reward system that reinforces things we like or enjoy. The rewards are internal, meaning that the activities and actions make us feel happy and content without an external reward. When we are intrinsically motivated, our reward is the positive feeling we get from engaging in a task or activity.

External Rewards Versus Internal Rewards

During recovery, we will often be rewarded more internally than externally. External rewards are things like getting a paycheck or a bonus at work. External rewards can also be trophies for winning a sports tournament or medals for participating in a foot race.

Motivations from external rewards, however, can be beyond our control or only received when we meet the expectations of others. While external rewards can help us stay motivated, internal rewards ultimately drive our self-improving behavior and push us to challenge ourselves.

We may play a sport or run a race because the activity feels good to us. Trophies and medals may be a bonus, however, they are not the overall motivator. Some external rewards may be necessary to keep us motivated for things that we must do, like our jobs.

Many of us would be hard-pressed to say that we would continue with our jobs without a paycheck! Intrinsic motivation, however, may guide us toward goals for completing our jobs with quality for our self-satisfaction. The pride we feel at the end of a hard day’s work can be a reward that helps us remain in our careers.

Recovery and Intrinsic Motivation: The Bigger Picture

Moving forward and achieving recovery goals are not often met with external rewards. We are unlikely to get a paycheck for becoming a better person. No one will pay us for achieving our self-rewarding goals or for engaging in self-care acts.

Recovery involves looking at the bigger picture and motivating ourselves for taking steps forward for our betterment. We will be motivated by our needs to improve and change our lives for the better. We will be able to look ourselves in the mirror, knowing that we did our best and made positive changes.

While we may feel challenged and feel like giving up, intrinsic motivations will help us maintain the course of our recovery. Self-directed and individualistic recovery plans will feel good to us and will satisfy our expectations. When we seek growth and change, the bigger picture matters more than the external rewards, as those will come and go throughout.

When we feel good about ourselves and the changes we made in our recovery, we will continue to move forward in positive ways. We will continue to excite ourselves by achieving what we did not think was possible before. By building a positive feedback loop within ourselves, we engage in our recovery journey. We can become the person we were meant to be!

Are you doing the best that you can? Have you achieved success in fulfilling the expectations of others while feeling empty inside? You may not have felt personally rewarded by fulfilling the expectations of others without thinking about what is important to you. You may never have thought about doing things for no other reason than they feel good for you. When beginning recovery from addictions, we may have been encouraged by others to seek help and care programs. We may feel like we are only doing so to satisfy the needs of others. The people in your life who care for you want to see you happy. Finding happiness can only be determined on your terms. When you chase only external rewards, you may feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied. By looking at the bigger picture of improving for yourself, recovery will become rewarding for its own sake. Enlightened Solutions understands the importance of intrinsic motivation in recovery. Call us today at (833) 801-5483 to seek care for you or a loved one!

Creating Goals: Managing Expectations for Successful Recovery

Creating Goals: Managing Expectations for Successful Recovery

When entering a recovery program, you may be asked, “What are your goals for recovery?” You may have some idea for recovery goals based on avoiding the pain that brought you into a care program or other form of treatment. You might be thinking about loved ones that your addictions have hurt or the pain you may have brought into your own life.

While you can benefit from thinking of the mistakes you would like to avoid repeating, recovery goals are things that you want to do to move toward. Goals are positive accomplishments that you would like to achieve or bring into your life. When you set about on your recovery journey, think about where you want to be. Use the negative experiences in your life to remind yourself of what you would like to avoid while looking ahead to what you want.

Goals Are the Road Map

Creating goals will help you move from where you are to where you would like to be. Otherwise, you may be feeling lost or confused while thinking that recovery is just about avoiding specific behaviors. Recovery is much more than learning how to manage and evade addictive behaviors.

Recovery is about building a fulfilling and rewarding life. Recovery is about building a new life for yourself and finding new destinations. In recovery, you may get stuck feeling like you know what you do not want more than you know what you do want.

You may feel that everything will work out as long as you avoid triggers and maintain sobriety. Life is about so much more! Finding a focus will help keep you from feeling trapped by substances or alcohol. Recovery is a journey, a means to a destination.

Where are you going in your recovery? Once you know where you are going, the journey becomes easier. Goals are the steps along the way toward your destination. They are the specific targets that you reach to move forward on your journey toward something greater.

Creating goals for recovery can be a fun process! You can use your imagination and create the person you want to become. You can begin by taking some time to think about what is important to you. What things get you out of your bed each morning? What are the fun things that you enjoy? What makes you feel fulfilled?

Challenging Negativity and Pushing Forward

If you have never created any goals or thought about this before, you may feel challenged thinking about these things. You may also be feeling down and experiencing negative emotions, like hopelessness and helplessness. When you feel down like this, the bright side is, you can only move upward.

If you cannot feel any worse, then the only option is to feel better! Any small step forward is a step toward success! Each positive step is a victory when you are in a down and out mental place! Build positive momentum and push forward by managing your expectations. When beginning the goal-making process, small steps forward will lead to big rewards along the journey!

Manage Your Expectations: Building Positivity

Bringing a positive mindset to recovery can help you along the entire journey. Start with small, everyday goals. While you may have a bigger accomplishment in mind, like, “I want to be a better parent” or “I want to get a Master’s degree,” keep these things in mind as you start small.

In the beginning stages of recovery, you may be neglecting some of your own self-care needs. You may be struggling with having a routine or finding any rewarding hobbies. You will be a better parent when you know how to care for yourself. You will be more successful in college if you can follow a routine.

Choose a goal like making your bed every morning or exercising for fifteen minutes per day. Be proud of yourself for the everyday victories and, as you remain consistent, you will build a positive mindset to move forward to tackling bigger challenges! Remember to think of the small things that you can do to start your recovery.

Be proud of yourself for any victory or achievement, even the daily accomplishments, like cooking dinner or taking a walk. When you are at rock bottom, the only place for you to go is up! Start small and think of where you want to go and less about what you want to avoid. Recovery is a journey that can be fun and rewarding! Set small goals to guide you along the way as you create the life that you want!

When you are at rock bottom, you may have a difficult time seeing the light. You may be struggling with negative emotions and feelings of hopelessness. You may even feel like you do not deserve to be happy if you have hurt others in the past due to your addictions. Holding onto the past can keep you glued in a state of “rock bottom.” You deserve to seek a fulfilling life beyond simply avoiding addictive behaviors. You deserve to be happy and to move forward. Building momentum takes some time; start with the small victories. Manage your expectations and have fun along the way! Enlightened Solutions offers our clients new ways of approaching recovery and emphasizes the importance of building a fulfilling life beyond our care program. Call us today at (833) 801-5483 to begin your recovery journey!

Six Keys to Persistence in Addiction Recovery

Six Keys to Persistence in Addiction Recovery

Long-term recovery is all about perseverance. Some common reasons why people enter addiction treatment include being desperate for any sort of change, wanting to appease loved ones, or being motivated by avoiding jail time. During treatment, there’s often a period where these individuals feel motivated and optimistic about their long-term prospects. However, recovery goes on and on. Perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping at it when your lowest point is a distant memory and there’s no end goal in sight. There is no shortcut to perseverance; you just have to persevere. However, the following tips can help keep you going.

Create a compelling vision for recovery.

The first key to persistence is to create for yourself a compelling vision for your recovery. Too often, people focus on what they don’t want to happen. They think about their lowest points in active addiction, how awful and ashamed they felt, and how they never want to go back there. There may be times when this is a good motivational tactic, but ultimately, it’s not helpful to constantly think about what you don’t want for your life.

Instead, think about what you do want out of recovery and out of life. Allow yourself to think about what your perfect life might look like and how being sober will contribute to that vision. Perhaps most importantly, identify your key values. Perhaps it’s family, learning, or being of service to your community. Take some time at regular intervals to write about your highest values and how sobriety helps you honor those. Having a compelling vision and clear values can give you extra motivation when you don’t feel like working on your recovery.

Know that it may take a while.

When you have a compelling vision for recovery, keep in mind that it may take a while. Addiction is deeply ingrained, and progress just takes time. Typically, it gets much easier after one year and after five years. Expecting the process to take a while saves you from a lot of disappointment when things don’t turn around immediately. Just remember that if you keep doing the right things, you will eventually get the results you want.

Create habits and routines.

If there’s a cheat code for perseverance in recovery, then it’s creating healthy habits and routines. When you do this, you automate healthy decisions so you don’t have to make good choices through sheer force of will every time. This takes a bit of effort at first, but it will save you a lot of effort in the long run.

Pick one new habit at a time—perhaps you want to start exercising. Know that you’re going to have to keep at it for probably two months before it feels automatic. Pick an activity that you already do every day or almost every day and anchor your new habit to that. It might be waking up in the morning or coming home from work, for example. Next, start small. You might come home from work and immediately change into your exercise clothes and that’s it. Later, you might change into your exercise clothes and then walk for five minutes, then 10 minutes. When you are first forming the habit, you don’t want it to feel challenging; you just want to tick the box until the habit is set. Then you can gradually ramp up the challenge. After a while, it takes effort to not exercise or not go to meetings, or whatever habit you have created.

Set goals.

Since there’s no real endpoint for addiction recovery, it helps to set goals so you have some definite aim. These should support various aspects of recovery. So, for example, one common goal is to attend 90 12-Step meetings in 90 days. This is also a clear example of a SMART goal because it is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited. Your goals might include finishing your degree or attending all of your kid’s soccer games. It depends on your own situation and priorities.

Accept that you’ll have bad days.

Another major key is to accept that you’ll have bad days, possibly a lot of them. After a really bad day where everything seems to go wrong, you might feel like you’ll never be able to sustain recovery, that there’s no point, that life is just too bad, and that some people are just doomed to misery and addiction.

Everyone who has ever recovered from addiction has felt like this at some point. Some days just feel like total failure. Remember that even if all you can do is hang on, then the day was a success. You can try again tomorrow and if tomorrow is bad, you can try again the next day. Often, it’s hard to see progress from day to day, and you only really notice when you look back over the last month or the last year. If you’re willing to go from one bad day to the next, those bad days will gradually become less frequent and less bad.

Create a strong support system.

Finally, it’s crucial to have a support system. Remember the old proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. There will inevitably be times when you don’t feel motivated, when you don’t really care if you stay sober, or when you feel like you have everything under control, so you don’t have to worry too much about your recovery plan. Having a sober network and being engaged will help keep you on track when your internal motivation is weak. A support system creates a greater sense of accountability and ensures you have someone to lean on during hard times. It’s a way of using peer pressure to your advantage.

Perhaps the most daunting thing about addiction recovery is that it goes on forever. That’s too much to think about all at once. If you want to persevere, you have to create some kind of structure for yourself by identifying your values, creating good habits, and setting goals. Having reasonable expectations and social support will help keep you on track. Above all, you have to be patient with yourself and be ok with just making it through the day.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that treatment isn’t a quick fix. That’s why we emphasize skills, lifestyle changes, and follow-up support to help our clients succeed long term. To learn more, call us today at 833-801-5483 or explore our website.

How to Quit Comparing Yourself to Others and Focus On Recovery

How to Quit Comparing Yourself to Others and Focus On Recovery

We all compare ourselves to others sometimes, but for the sake of your recovery, it would be great if you could do it less. Several studies have linked participants’ tendency to make social comparisons to bad outcomes such as envy, resentment, lying, anxiety, and depression. When you consider that most people recovering from addiction already have co-occurring mental health issues, comparing your progress to others certainly doesn’t help matters. These comparisons are never accurate anyway since everyone has different needs and personal attributes, to begin with. Comparison can make you focus on the wrong things and it can turn recovery into a competition when it’s far better for everyone to see recovery as a cooperative effort. 


While the evidence is clear that comparisons are bad for your mental health and recovery, it’s often hard to break the habit. The following tips will help you compare yourself to others less and feel better in general.


Cut Down on Social Media

Social media is like a machine for generating unhealthy comparisons. A number of studies have linked more social media use to a greater risk of anxiety and depression. One study asked participants to cut down on their social media use for three weeks to see if it improved their mental health. In the study, 140 participants were divided into two groups. One continued their normal social media use and the other was asked to limit their social media use to just 30 minutes a day. Both filled out questionnaires about their mental health at the beginning and the end of the study. It turned out that the group that limited their social media use felt much better at the end of the study, reporting significantly less depression and loneliness. 


Remember That You’re Not Seeing the Whole Picture

Most of us have a hard time not believing our eyes. When we see our acquaintances’ nice pictures on Facebook or the confident way someone presents themselves, it’s hard to believe the reality might be different or more complicated than what we’re seeing. You may have heard the apt analogy that comparing your life to what you see on social media is like comparing your blooper reel to other people’s highlight reels. We always try to present ourselves in the best possible light, while being all too aware of our own doubts, flaws, and mistakes. However, when it comes to other people, we are too ready to believe that what we see is all there is. Never forget that everyone has their own struggles, weaknesses, frustrations, and disappointments, even if we have no clue what they might be.


Focus on Your Goals and Values

Part of the problem with comparing your progress to others’ is that not everyone has the same needs in recovery. This can lead you to focus on the wrong things. Just comparing yourself to someone else is a hollow way of measuring your progress. A more effective way is to keep your goals and values clear in your mind as you work on staying sober. So, for example, a lot of people decide to get sober because they realize their drinking and drug use is hurting their family. Keeping that value in mind will help guide your decisions both in recovery and life. You may set specific goals with these values in mind. These will look different for everyone but as you become more attuned to what you really want, you can judge your activity in recovery by whether it brings you more in line with your goals and values. Judge your progress on whether you’re making headway towards your specific goals and whether you are making improvements from day-to-day.


Practice Gratitude

One reason comparisons make you feel bad is that they reinforce a sense of lack. Someone has something you don’t have and you feel inadequate. One antidote to this is to focus on gratitude for what you do have. There are two easy ways to get into the habit of gratitude. The first is to write down a few things each day that you felt grateful for. They could be big or small. This practice gets you in the habit of noticing the good things in life. The second way is to write a gratitude letter. Pick something you never properly thanked someone for and write a letter describing what they did and what it meant to you. After you write it, you can decide whether or not to deliver it. Studies have found that this makes people feel happier for about a month.


Look for Inspiration, Not Validation

Looking at what others are doing is not inherently bad. It’s only bad when we become judgmental or use it to determine our own value. When someone in your sober network succeeds, it’s good for you too. It shows you can rise above addiction and live a good life. You can also learn from that person. On the other hand, if you see someone struggling, see if there is something you can do for them. Lifting up the people around you strengthens your recovery too and reinforces the fact that you’re all in this together. 


Use Envy to Grow

Even if you do everything right by avoiding social media, staying focused on your own goals, and so on, you will occasionally feel a pang of envy. This can either lead you in a bad direction in which you struggle with resentment and feelings of inadequacy or it can lead you in a more positive direction of self-awareness. Wanting things is not necessarily bad; you just have to take some time to reflect on why you want what someone else has. For example, if someone in your 12-Step group has just gotten a job that you envy, what makes you envious? Is it the money? Is it the status? Is it the nature of the work itself? The aim of the work? These kinds of questions can help you clarify what you really value.


Comparisons are not good for your recovery or anyone else’s. To compare yourself to others less, start by avoiding social media and other situations that actively promote comparison. Beyond that, get in touch with your personal values and use them to guide your efforts. Perhaps most importantly, keep in mind that recovery is not a race. No one’s success diminishes your own and, in fact, the opposite is true. Be of service when you can and remember that you’re all on the same team. 


At Enlightened Solutions, we know that joy and connection are essential elements in a strong recovery. We emphasize individualized, holistic care for long-term success. For more information, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.

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5 Tips For Setting Goals

For those in recovery sometimes “what are your goals” only has one answer: staying sober. Living life sober gives you an opportunity to go after whatever you wnt in life. Here are some suggestions for getting started.

How Do You Want To Feel?

Most often, our goals come with a feeling. When we achieve that goal, we imagine feeling a certain way about ourselves and as ourselves. Perhaps more confident, more capable, or more accomplished. Envision your goal in mind. How do you imagine you will feel once you achieve it? Are there feelings assosciated with this goal that you think you can only have if you achieve it?

Keep Yourself Inspired

Goals, no matter how big or small, can seem impossible when we are in a negative mindset. Stay inspired about your goal by setting little reminders of why you’re working so hard for it. Focus on that moment where you achieve your goal and how good it will feel. Leave yourself encouraging notes. Read stories of others who have gone after a siilar thing. Everyone experiences feeling discouraged and afraid of failure.

Get A Goal Buddy!

Accountability is key to achieving your goals. Have some who is working on the same or a similar goal to help cheer you on and give inspiration to as well. Sometimes it is our pep talks to others that we personally need to hear the most. Your goal buddy will help you stay on track and keeping working toward what you want.

Set A Time Limit

Goals aren’t indefinite- they’re definite and finite things we want to accomplish. How much can you work toward your goal each day? Each month? In six months? You’re capable of accomplishing more than you know. Don’t make your goals indefinite. Set a reasonable amount of time to achieve it and you will.

Choose Something Realistic

We can’t change our body types, become millionaires in a day, or excel in a hobby we’ve never tired before when we try it for the first time. There are rare occurrencesof these things happening, but such miracles aren’t common. Make sure you know what you are going after is a realistic opportunity. It doesn’t mean you can’t dream big- dream as big as you want- but separate your dreams from fantasies.

Enlightened Soltuions is here to help s=you reach your goal of lifelong recovery. Our dual diagnosis problems serve those in need of treatment for mental health and substance use disorders. Call us today for inofrmaiton on how we can help you achieve your goals 833-801-5483.