Of all the components that go into a successful recovery plan, goal setting is one of the most important. You may understand that importance of having goals for your recovery (and life in general), but the process of goal setting can prove difficult. While your obvious number one goal is to stay sober for your lifetime, you may not be sure of the route you are taking to achieve that goal. This article will outline the importance of goal setting in your recovery.
The Importance of Goal Setting
For many in recovery (including yourself), there are three main goals that need to be achieved:
- To stay sober for the long term (hopefully forever)
- Achieving stability in your personal life.
- Repairing and strengthening relationships with family, friends and other loved ones.
In order to move you in the right direction in achieving these objectives, you need to have confidence in setting goals. Goal setting helps keep you motivated and moving in a positive and healthy direction.
It is important to note that goals are specific and realistic objectives that are measurable. Effective goal setting allows you to learn about yourself and grow. Most importantly, goal setting makes you accountable and responsible for your recovery. When you really think about it, the one person that can help you get and stay sober, healthy and happy for a lifetime is you.
The Steps to Effective Goal Setting
If you are just learning how to set effective goals for yourself, it can be tricky. There is so much to think about and change. There is no doubt the process of goal setting in recovery is daunting, but the following tips will help you stay the course.
In order for goals to come to fruition, they need to be realistic. Instead of setting large vague goals, focus on setting small goals that make you reach out of your comfort zone, but are attainable.
The goals you set need to be both specific and realistic. For example, if you have a goal of getting a job, create a more specific goal such as finding a job that will pay you $12 an hour and gives you 40 hours a week. Specific goals give you the ability to break them down into smaller “micro-goals” that are manageable.
Set Realistic Time Limits
Now that you have clearly identified realistic and specific goals, you need to think about a time frame in which you want to achieve said goal. Having goals that are open-ended with no date attached will not provide any motivation to work towards the goal in the first place. Give yourself a realistic deadline to complete a specific goal.
No matter how much you plan, life happens. There will be obstacles that prevent us from reaching a goal. If this happens to you, have the flexibility to change the timeframe and the goal itself. Allow yourself the room to learn from setbacks—you will grow as a result. Accept the fact that life is imperfect and that you have to make adjustments to your goals in order to attain what you desire in your recovery and life.
Be Good to Yourself
It may be unpleasant to think about, but there will be times you will fall short of your goal. While it is easy to beat yourself up and throw your hands in the air, you are human. Failure is a learning experience. Learning from where things went wrong can be just as valuable as attaining a goal in itself. It is important to understand that experiencing failure does not mean you can excuse or rationalize unhealthy behaviors. As stated earlier, you must accept that you are imperfect and that you have the opportunity to change the way you seek your goals.
Goal setting isn’t an event that just happens; it takes considerable thought and planning. By keeping the above steps in mind, you will be well on your way to achieving the lasting happiness and healthiness that come with long-term recovery. If you have difficulty in targeting specific goals, seek the advice of your recovering peers, your sponsor, counselor, or a trusted family member or friend.