Renaissance Ranch

11 Ways to Strengthen Your Willpower and Personal Accountability

Aug 15, 2023

The path to addiction recovery is not for the faint of heart. Wherever you are on your journey, you’ve probably figured out that you can only get so far without some solid willpower and accountability. But maintaining that willpower can sometimes feel like swimming against the current of an overwhelming river. Everything is urging you in the opposite direction. And yet, you know you’ve got to stay the course.

Practicing strategies that will strengthen your willpower and personal accountability is like equipping yourself with a canoe and oar to get you up that river. The journey may not be a float on a lake, but it sure beats swimming.

Let’s look at some practical and intentional ways to grow and maintain your self-accountability and willpower.

11 Ways to Strengthen Your Willpower and Personal Accountability

(Tobias Tullius/unsplash)

1. Work on your physical health.

Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, which means that physical health can significantly contribute to your ability to fight addiction. Watch your nutrition, stay hydrated, and exercise regularly to ensure your body has all the tools it needs to heal and maintain healthy habits.

2. Enroll in a faith-based recovery program.

Finding a drug treatment center or alcohol rehab facility with Christian values is crucial to healing the mind, body, and soul, as we believe faith is the most important tool in your recovery tool belt. Faith-based treatment centers will give you the framework you need to maintain overall spiritual health throughout your recovery and will provide you with support and accountability throughout your entire journey. As you seek to develop healthy habits, make sure to include daily prayer and meditation, scripture reading, and weekly church attendance.

3. Set attainable goals.

Shooting for a year of sobriety may seem daunting, sometimes even impossible. Instead, try setting shorter goals. When you reach an objective, no matter how big or small, the pride of accomplishment will build your motivation to keep going. Aim for one month, then another. Before you know it, those months will become one year, and then two and three.

4. Create a routine (and stick to it).

A consistent routine is critical to a successful rehabilitation. For many, too much downtime can pose a problem for recovery. While filling your schedule from waking to sleeping is unnecessary, a set routine will help you stay on task and keep moving forward. This routine might include morning rituals, work hours, exercise time, therapy, church, and recovery-related activities.

5. Remember how far you’ve come.

The path to recovery is not well paved. It’s full of bumps, cracks, and the occasional weed poking through the gaps. When the going gets tough, stop to look at how far you’ve come. Sometimes, it’s helpful to talk things through with a friend or family member who can remind you of your progress and note the changes they’ve seen and experienced in you. Give yourself grace and celebrate the distance traveled so far, no matter how many miles you still have to go.

6. Practice self-care.

In addition to taking care of your physical and spiritual health, it’s also essential to take the time to tend to your mental health. Self-care practices such as taking walks in nature, reading a book, listening to a podcast, or even getting a haircut can significantly improve your mental well-being.

7. Learn to recognize triggers.

If you’ve spent time in addiction-based therapy, treatment programs, or recovery groups, you know this is a big one. Certain people, situations, or feelings can trigger your need to find relief in the wrong ways. You must learn to recognize those triggers early on in the recovery process and take active measures to avoid them as much as possible.

8. Practice saying “no.”

Once you’ve begun recognizing your triggers, the next step is learning that small but mighty word: “No.” You may need to utilize this word when that old friend group invites you to their Super Bowl party or when that name pops up on your phone. Although it’s one of the hardest lessons to learn and follow, your strength and willpower will grow by leaps and bounds once you’ve put it into practice.

9. Find your calm.

For many, the use of substances begins as a way of coping with stress. Without those coping mechanisms, you may struggle with finding other ways to manage anxiety and allowing yourself to relax. Come up with a list of things that soothe you so that you have practical options at your fingertips in those moments. This might include playing or listening to music, watching your favorite comedian, journaling, or riding a bike. Whatever allows you to take a deep breath and helps to clear your mind without using substances, do it often.

10. Celebrate milestones.

Earlier in the article, we discussed the importance of setting attainable goals. But what happens when you reach those goals? Before stressing about getting to the next one, take some time to celebrate your progress. When you hit a goal, no matter how big or small, you should feel proud! And chances are, your family and friends will be proud, too. Whether throwing a BBQ or going out for ice cream, honoring your progress is a great way to build your motivation as you press on toward the next milestone.

11. Allow yourself to sit with your feelings and acknowledge your thoughts.

Finally, work on acknowledging your thoughts and feelings. Rather than pushing away thoughts that might have led to bad decisions in the past, allow yourself to be present with them. Those thoughts and feelings are part of the human experience, and one of the best ways to heal is to validate them. Don’t try to numb them. Don’t try to ignore them.

Give yourself grace as you consider the why behind these feelings you’re experiencing and reach out to your support system to work through them with someone you trust.