Goal Setting: How To Be Effective for Recovery

Effective Goal Setting for Recovery

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This quote is often used as a motivation for people in personal development and goal setting conversations. While this overused cliché is not a clinical definition of real mental health problems, it does provide a valuable lesson that can be applied to goal setting and addiction recovery.

As you are overcoming an addiction or looking for ways to improve your life, you will learn that the patterns and habits of the past have resulted in unfavourable outcomes. Continuing to make the same choices will give you the same results. So, it is time to switch your focus if you want to change your future.

If you have tried over and over again to get clean, then it is probably time to enlist the help of professional services. Rehab facilities not only help with the physical withdrawal, but these experts can also offer the tools that you need to set and achieve the right goals.

Here are a few tips to help you maintain motivation in recovery by setting short and long-term goals that will help you stay on track:

What is Mindfulness?

According to Psychology Today, mindfulness is defined as:

“ a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you carefully observe your thoughts and feelings without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future.”

Living “in the moment” by actively focusing on the present is the foundation of this practice. Not only are you intentional about focusing on what you are experiencing from one minute to the next. But, you are accepting the sensations and circumstances and observing the situation without judgement.

Why Goals are Important in Recovery

Goal setting is the process of determining what you want to achieve, then creating a plan with smaller, actionable items that will help you accomplish your desired result. Having an objective gives you something to focus on and ensures that you can work towards the result. Often, people feel like life is aimless when they are stuck in addiction. Setting goals can create momentum with your progress, help you build confidence and self-esteem, and encourage you to take accountability for the results you are achieving.

What are the right goals for your recovery? It is important that you are looking at the building blocks that will lead to long-term sobriety. Examples of your goals might include:

  •    Avoiding triggers and patterns that lead to substance abuse
  •    Caring for the physical health
  •    Developing hobbies that were lost in addiction
  •    Rebuilding relationships that were damaged
  •    Finding worthwhile activities
  •    Building emotional maturity and strength to avoid the desire to escape or numb with drugs
  •    Identifying and overcoming character flaws that contribute to addiction

Remember that addiction recovery is a process, not an event. When you accomplish the short-term goals, continue identifying more goals that will keep you moving forward.

SMART Strategy for Goal Setting

The acronym, “SMART” is a great way to identify worthy goals for your recovery. Goals should be:

  • Specific: Be clear about what you are trying to achieve. For example, set a specific goal to talk with your sponsor at least once a day.
  • Measurable: Can you identify the successful completion of the goal? The only way to identify if progress is being made is if you can measure the actions that have occurred.
  • Attainable: Start with short-term goals that build-up to the long-term achievements that you desire. These smaller actions help you experience success along the way. You will feel the accomplishment in the progress that is made, and build momentum that supports your long-term recovery goals.
  • Relevant: Are the goals relevant to match your desires? When it comes to addiction recovery, you need to be thinking about the small actions, habits, and personality traits that will help you maintain a fulfilled lifestyle without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Timely: When you are fighting addiction and triggers, focus on the immediacy of the current situation. While it is important to look to the future, you also need to be sure that your finish line is within reach. For example, you might have hourly, daily, and weekly goals that build up to monthly, annually, and lifetime goals.

For more information about SMART goal setting, check out this link that offers a detailed outline and suggestions for creating your goals.

Keep in mind that it is normal to encounter challenges and difficulties in your journey. When you feel discouraged or slip-up in your progress, you have the chance to stand up again and keep going with your goals. Professional support is essential so that you can lean on the experience of someone who understands the best strategies for overcoming addiction. Enlist the help of the right team that will increase your chances of success.