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Clinically Reviewed by Linda Whiteside, LPCC

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson, MD

The Importance of Goal Setting in Recovery

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Goal Setting While in Recovery

You can think of your recovery program as a toolkit consisting of many tools. One of the most common tools you will utilize in your recovery journey is goal setting. While this may seem common sense, goal setting can be a tricky and difficult endeavor. It’s easy to say that your goal is to stay sober for a lifetime, how are you going to get there? Setting small manageable goals can help guide the way to long term sobriety. This article will outline the importance of goal setting in your recovery. Additionally, this article will give you some simple tricks and tips to help you going in the right direction.

Smart Goal Setting in Addiction Recovery

Why Goal Setting is Important to Addiction Recovery

When in recovery, there seem to be three main goals that apply to most people. The first and most important goal is staying sober for the long-term, in addition to that most people seek to obtain stability in other aspects of their lives. Additionally, you want to repair your relationships with family, friends and other loved ones. Goal setting helps keep you motivated and moving in a positive and healthy direction.

Goals are specific and realistic objectives that are measurable. When you set goals, you give yourself something to aim towards. Additionally, effective goal setting allows you to learn about yourself and grow. Most importantly, goal setting makes you accountable and responsible for your recovery. The only person that is going to help you achieve happiness, health and lasting sobriety is you.

What Do I Need to Do to Set Goals in My Recovery?

Like anything in life, goal setting in recovery can be difficult—especially in the beginning. There is so much to think about and change. While the process can be overwhelming, the following tips will help you stay on track:

Be Realistic

There is an old saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this holds true in recovery. While you want lasting happiness and health, setting large goals that are unattainable will only cause frustration and set you up for failure. Be realistic in your goal setting by setting small actionable goals that make you stretch a little, while still remaining attainable. A great example is finding part-time work or an internship that can lead to finding a fulfilling full-time job.

Be Specific and Break It Down!

When you create your goals, don’t be vague. The goals you set need to be both specific and realistic. Instead of having the goal of getting a job, for example, create a more specific goal such as finding a job that will pay you $15 an hour and gives you 40 hours a work a week. Once you have a specific goal, break it down into manageable bits. Using the above example of finding work, have micro-goals such as updating resumes, applying to 3 temp agencies a week and so on.

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 and stick to it.

Be Flexible

Life happens. Even with the best planning and intentions, 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. When you experience failure in setting recovery goals, learn from the experience and make revisions. These learning experiences 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.

Smart Goals For Sobriety: Make Drug Treatment Your Number One Goal

If you are ready to embrace sobriety, your first goal is to seek a treatment program that will help provide you with the tools and support needed to help you find lasting recovery. The treatment professionals at NuView Treatment Center utilize both effective traditional and holistic treatment programs to help make your goal of long-term sobriety and happiness a reality. Call us toll-free right now and get on the right rehab in Los Angeles California.

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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