Hope Springs Eternal: Use fresh starts to support your recovery

Phrases like “hope springs eternal,” “while there is life, there is hope,” or “tomorrow is a new day” are staples in our society because it feels humanity has a unique capability to renew their sense of hope. Nature is a constant reminder of ebb and flow, death and birth, light and dark, so we come by this hope renewal naturally. 

Our predilection for “fresh starts” and “new beginnings” is often used by diet culture to reinforce their sales pitch to start a new diet, fast, or exercise program. Anyone who has dieted is familiar with Monday start dates for such things. However, this natural inclination to begin again is very helpful to those of us in recovery or just beginning our recovery. 

Recovery is not linear. Meaning it can be full of fits and starts, loops and spirals, and sometimes it feels like you’re on a treadmill. All of this can be incredibly discouraging, but leveraging our desire for renewal can be very supportive. 

To start, utilize natural “new starts” to your advantage. The 1st of the month, the 1st day of the week, a new season (like the onset of spring) are great places to start hope renewals for recovery. 

For example, you could use a new month to reaffirm goals you’ve set or build in new ones. The beginning of a new week to write new affirmations or start a new self-care practice. The start of a new season is a great time to think about clearing out old things, clothing, habits, and bringing in new things to support the new life you’re cultivating. 

Next, find a way to record/track your progress using renewals. Because recovery can feel like a maze, journaling or note-taking can be helpful to demonstrate our growth. Documenting this process allows you to look back and remind yourself of just how far you’ve come. You can journal at the start of a new day, have a monthly check-in chart for your goals, or use a mood chart or graph your emotions throughout the day or week. Pairing natural new starts with journaling or recording thoughts on your phone is the next step to facilitate recovery. 

Finally, develop a practice of seeing “new starts” everywhere. Every day is a new day, so every day is a good time to start caring for yourself better. Just as every moment is a new moment to nourish yourself fully or remember that thoughts are just thoughts. Every inhale is a new start. You don’t have to wait for a Monday to begin. You don’t have to wait for a moment more. You are capable of taking the next recovery step whenever. Life is now.