Many people struggle with a sense of failure during their addiction, which can influence your mindset as you enter your treatment program. Worrying about whether or not you can achieve long-term sobriety is normal. You might also be unsure of how to proceed with putting your life back together. Setting recovery goals helps you define your new priorities while creating a plan that enables you to make the most of your new sober lifestyle. Now that you are ready to set some goals, it is essential to recognize the best ones to help you achieve your dreams.
Why Is Setting Recovery Goals Important?
Everyone has things that they would like to do when they get sober. You may have big dreams of getting a specific type of job or starting a family. You might have a desire to help others begin their addiction recovery. While dreams are lovely, they often lack any proper plan to make them happen.
Addiction recovery goals are simply an action plan for achieving your dreams. When you set a goal, you break your vision down into actionable steps that you can take right away. Having a plan in place helps you remember what to do when you are unsure what should happen next. Your goals will also help to serve as motivation for continuing on the right path. Breaking a big dream down into smaller steps enables you to see that it is possible to do anything you set your mind to.
What Do Good Addiction Recovery Goals Look Like?
There are two primary types of goals. Long-term goals are ones that you will be working on for months or years. For example, earning your college degree is an example of a long-term goal for a first-time student. Short-term goals can be accomplished in as little as a day to several weeks. Many addicts in recovery talk about staying sober day by day. This is an excellent example of a short-term goal that builds on your extended one of maintaining a long-term sober lifestyle.
Reasonable goals should also have specific characteristics. The SMART method for goal setting is an effective way to check to see if yours are reasonable. Using this method, you can set goals that meet the following criteria:
- Specific – List what you want to do within a basic time frame.
- Measurable – Define how you will know you are achieving this goal.
- Achievable – Determine if you can complete this goal.
- Relevant – Ask if this goal is vital for helping your situation.
- Time-Bound – Make sure there is a set date to complete or renew your goal.
How Do You Handle Failure During Goal Setting In Recovery?
The first thing to know is that not achieving a goal doesn’t represent failure. You have probably made some type of progress, but something happened that made it hard to complete your goal. Viewing this as a learning opportunity helps you continue working on it if the plan makes sense for your happiness.
If you don’t meet a goal, give yourself a chance to look at it from a new perspective. As you do, make sure to avoid making excuses or blaming other people for getting in your way. You can start by looking at your goal to make sure it was realistic. Did you leave yourself enough time to complete it? Perhaps it didn’t break down into manageable steps. Revising the goal can help you get back on track.
Some goals are hard to hit if you experience a setback. Losing a source of transportation could interfere with you getting that job you wanted. Experiencing an illness might stop you from attending all of your counseling sessions. In this situation, you might be able to continue working on your goal now that the setback has passed.
How Will Goals for Addicts in Recovery Change Over Time?
Addiction recovery involves working through several phases. At first, your primary goal may be to complete your initial treatment program. Later, your goal might be to move into a sober living residence where you can begin to work on other goals, such as finding a job or going to school. Once you start living independently, you may need to work with your family members or roommates to identify goals that help everyone. For example, you might set a goal of attending a certain number of group sessions a week to help you stay sober.
When you assess your recovery goals, remember that flexibility and accountability are essential for your success. There will be times when you need to revise a goal or extend the deadline. Yet, you also want to make sure that you don’t start wavering on your decision to make progress in your life. Make sure to share your goals with your family members, sober living housemates, and your mentor. Having people willing to help you stay accountable makes it possible to achieve all of your dreams.