Renaissance Ranch

The Power of a Planner Throughout Recovery

Jun 26, 2021


Northwestern Medicine shares that people who don’t have a healthy, consistent routine tend to fight against:

  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • Bad diet choices
  • Declining physical health
  • Consistently remaining unproductive

None of this sounds fun because, well, none of this is fun. However, most of us unknowingly accept these “fates” when we simply neglect to map out our day or create a roadmap for the week. This sort of thing doesn’t take up tons of time, money, or resources. When used effectively, a basic tool like a daily planner can help navigate your week and combat poor lifestyle choices and a lack of productivity.

When you take the time to set yourself up for a healthy routine each day and each week, your addiction recovery process reaps similar benefits. Check out why it’s vital to invest in a daily planner and how to most efficiently navigate this resource:

Planning your day in advance alleviates high levels of anxiety.

The US National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Health conducted a study that hinged on the already-known reality that unknown factors create a neurobiological sense of anxiety. The brain always responds to the unknown, and it’s often through fear, due to uncertainty and the inability to control an unforeseeable situation.

However, what their study did uncover is that the body will follow the brain in response to anxiety, and many times, one of the body’s ways to fight the unknown is through “heightened reactivity to threat uncertainty.” In other words, your body will do the quickest, fastest, biggest, baddest thing to resolve the anxiety so your brain can calm down — and that’s not always the safest, most healthy measure to take.

Sure, each unknown in your day won’t be this high-level. Choosing cereal over toast for breakfast likely won’t cause an anxiety attack, but when the simpler, more predictable parts of your day are already mapped out and written out in your planner, the brain has more space to process the unexpected things, which allows the body to respond in a calmer, slower, more rational sense.

Planning your day in advance helps avoid potential triggers.

Often, through addiction recovery classes and programs, you learn to identify your triggers. It’s often uncomfortable, and even unnerving, but you start to recognize the people, places, and even the sights and sounds that pave the way for temptation to set in. This ultimately can create an uphill battle for you to climb as you resist an addiction relapse.

Once you recognize these triggers, it’s crucial to set healthy boundaries for yourself. Find ways to create specific strategies that help you avoid those people, places, and things as you continue your recovery journey outside the strong, tight accountability of classes, programs, and your Renaissance Ranch addiction recovery staff.

Creating an hour-by-hour map of your day — before work, on your lunch break, after work before dinner, etc. — allows you to actively thwart any opportunities to visit the wrong people, stop by the wrong places, pick up the wrong habits. How? By filling your planner with positive activities that keep your brain and body healthily engaged throughout the entire day.

Planning your day in advance makes room for significant progress.

Circles USA, a national poverty-alleviation non-profit, has found that the only goals that are met are SMART goals: goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

The best way to create SMART goals is to map out their details and the specific day-to-day steps it’ll take to meet them. This is some nitty-gritty stuff — lots of details to keep up with. It may seem like a lot, but what better way to map out healthy, long-term goals than to plan out the daily, “mini” goals that can get you there? A planner creates a visual reminder and accountability to put in the daily effort to meet long-term goals.

These daily reminders and accountability tools make room for you to track your progress, serving as not only accountability but daily encouragement to work hard and actively strive toward your addiction recovery goals.

It might seem too simple to keep a daily planner as a primary way to reduce anxiety, avoid potential triggers, and keep track of significant progress, but the science of this basic habit works. This doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive planner — all you need to do is find a planner that allows you to strategically map out your goals toward full addiction recovery. Once you do this, you’ll see how much progress you can make!

Even after you complete the programs and classes, there are still goals to set and smart ways to meet those goals throughout your addiction recovery process. With the right people to not only hold you accountable but provide simple tools and resources, the road to recovery can begin to seem much more realistic and attainable. However, anything worth having often requires hard, enduring effort, and here at Renaissance Ranch, we recognize the uphill battles you face as you fight against addiction and relapse. It’s crucial to not only have accountability and tools but to have confidence that you can use those tools to protect yourself and others against any relapse. If you are struggling with keeping accountability, finding the right resources, or any other aspect of drug addiction, we can help you. The Renaissance Ranch team is here to assist you through all aspects of the drug addiction recovery process. To learn more about how we can help you throughout your recovery journey, please contact us today at (801) 308-8898.