Recovery is not a one-step process. It is a lifetime of committing and recommitting to yourself to continue to improve your life from day to day, sometimes even moment to moment. Within recovery, there is the opportunity to forgive, learn, rebuild, and grow. Yet this process does not happen overnight. Recovery happens by setting achievable goals.
Setting Realistic and Attainable Goals
Goals help you know where you are going and measure your progress regarding when and where you want to arrive at your proverbial destination. Whether you regularly set goals in your life or have never considered the idea, setting recovery goals will likely be a new experience. You may be excited to set lofty goals, or you may not even want to set goals at all. Wherever you are is okay, and seeking the help of those in your treatment program will help you set realistic and attainable goals.
You may have heard of the acronym for SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. This concept is an excellent guideline to help establish recovery goals that set you up for success. Your goals need to be realistic and attainable so you will be able to achieve them and feel good about yourself for having done so. As you achieve your goals, you can then set more.
Why Should I Set Smaller, Measurable Goals?
While it is ideal to set both short and long-range goals, smaller, measurable goals are going to keep you on the recovery path. If you were to take a very long road trip, for example, your goal would be to get from where you are to where you want to go. That is long-range. Along the way, however, you would need to set smaller goals regarding how long you will travel before getting gas, taking a break to eat, or where to sleep for the night.
Recovery is also a very long road, but many short-term goals need to be achieved along the way. Setting daily goals, weekly goals, and more will help you know where you are going and plan how to get there. They will also help you to understand when you have arrived. Some goals may even need to address successfully, making it through the next craving. Setting SMART goals will help you arrive at the smaller destinations along the path of recovery.
What Types of Goals Should I Set for Myself?
Some of the goals that you can set for yourself in recovery include:
- I will relax/meditate/do breathing exercises for 20 minutes every day
- I will attend my daily meetings in treatment
- I will go for a walk for at least 15 minutes every day
- I will write in a gratitude journal at least five times per week
- I will give back by volunteering at least 2 hours per month
- I will contact (person) to make amends by (date)
- I will check in with my sponsor by (time) every day
The above are just some general ideas, but notice that they have all of the elements of SMART goals, and most are relatively small and measurable with a time limit. You will set goals that are important to you, but by following the SMART guidelines, you will find more success.
Giving Yourself Credit for Achieving Goals
When you achieve a goal, even daily or hourly, give yourself some credit. You accomplished a goal! That is exciting and commendable. Honestly, this is one of the most critical aspects of recovery goals: recognizing your progress.
You may have difficult days and feel as though you haven’t achieved anything, but when you look at your goals, you will realize how much you have accomplished. Achieving goals is like getting gas on your trip; they refuel your motivation to continue on your recovery journey.
Give Yourself Credit One Day at a Time
Most importantly, look at your goals one day at a time, even hourly or by the minute if necessary. Every minute you maintain your recovery is a success. Every hour you do not give in to cravings is a huge success. Every day that you accomplish the little things that keep you on the recovery path is a victory.
Setting and achieving goals is a practical measuring tool regarding your progress and daily victories in recovery. Acknowledging yourself for doing this, one day at a time, is how you will be able to keep going—putting one step in front of the other toward the biggest goal of all: a lifetime of recovery.
Setting SMART goals will help you measure where you are going and where you are currently on your recovery journey. They are the way you get from point A to point B and how you know you have arrived each step of the way. By acknowledging your process, you will have continued motivation to keep moving forward, one day at a time, one step at a time. At The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women, we know how important recovery goals can be. Our Costa Mesa, California facility is a peaceful refuge for healing where you can begin setting and achieving all of your recovery goals. Our staff is compassionate and helpful and will be alongside you while you set and achieve your goals. Contact The Ho Tai Way at (714) 581-3974 today. That can be your first SMART goal and one of the most important ones you will achieve.