Why You Need to Be Goal-Oriented in Recovery
While most drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs have a well-defined end point, your recovery is something you’ll be actively working on for the rest of your life. And though managing your addiction takes work in plenty of ways, you’ll likely find setting clear, measurable goals for yourself is one way to stay motivated and avoid a relapse.
Why Are Goals Important?
Goals give our lives structure and a sense of purpose. If you don’t set objectives, you will lose sight of who you want to be. Goals take on an additional importance for people in recovery, who need to stay focused on maintaining their sobriety. One of the best ways to fend off negativity, especially in early sobriety, is to do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Many former addicts feel intense guilt and shame about the mistakes they made or the people they hurt when they were using, and struggle with self-esteem that has probably hit an all-time low before they decided to get help. Achieving your goals can help restore that long-lost sense of pride.
In recovery, every success, no matter how small, is a victory. No matter how bad you feel about who you were in the past, you can still make amends and take steps to move forward with positivity. As a recovering addict, it can be challenging to overcome the belief that the mistakes you have made are irreversible. By being goal-oriented, you have a chance to prove to yourself that you deserve a happy, healthy and satisfying life.
Setting SMART Goals
As with all things worth doing, there is a right way to set goals. By making goals that are vague, unrealistic or unachievable, you are setting yourself up for failure before you even begin.
To learn how to set goals the right way, it helps to remember the acronym SMART:
In other words, a goal has to be something concrete you can realistically achieve within a specific timeframe, and laid out in such a way that you can clearly envision the path forward.
For example, let’s say your goal is to lose weight. Telling yourself you want to lose 30 pounds in 30 days is specific, measurable and time-bound, but it is not realistic and probably not achievable. On the other hand, a vague goal like “I’ll lose a few pounds” is equally ineffectual. Instead, learn ways to lose weight and keep it off, then create a detailed weight-loss plan that unfolds over the next three to six months.
Goals Should Matter to You
When you’re setting goals, think about things that spark your passion. Living a goal-oriented lifestyle doesn’t only mean chasing goals because they’re something that feels attainable for you, but because the subject of your goal is a priority in your life.
Good goals include:
- Getting a raise or promotion at work.
- Setting aside a specific amount each month to invest.
- Reading at least one new book every month.
- Saving money for a vacation.
- Regaining your strength and stamina after being out of shape.
Though these goals are not specific to recovery, that’s because the recovery process is something you will integrate into your entire life. Try to make healthy lifestyle changes, take up a new hobby or find new friends who support your sobriety, and the time will pass much more quickly. In other words, to achieve your addiction-related goals, pursue something you deeply care about, and the healing will be a natural offshoot of your progress.
New Jersey Drug and Alcohol Rehab Services
At Seabrook, we give our clients the tools and support they need to become healthy, functioning adults. Our five well-appointed New Jersey campuses rely on a time-honored 12-step recovery process and a clinically proven model of care. If you wish to begin with a fresh start in life, contact us today.