Recovery is about more than dedicating yourself to a life of sobriety. It’s about making behavioral changes that help you manage your symptoms of emotional and substance use disorder (SUD). That won’t happen overnight or without having goals to motivate these changes. Long and short-term recovery goals will help you maintain a successful recovery post-treatment by serving as a guide to your recovery success. If you feel like you are no longer on a path to achieving your goals, you will know it’s time to reevaluate and reassess your recovery plan.
Creating Actionable Recovery Goals
It’s important to start goal creation with a good foundation. You can do this by brainstorming actionable ways of meeting your goals. What is an actionable goal, though? A goal is actionable when you have control over the outcome and can act on it in the present moment.
Setting goals such as finding happiness, falling in love, or becoming the CEO of your own company, while aspirational, are not actionable. To make these goals actionable, you need to break them down into smaller, actionable objectives.
Once you brainstorm your recovery goals, work backward to create objectives you can presently take steps toward. If your goal is to find happiness, your objective might be practicing gratitude more frequently or filling your life with positive people. When you want to become the CEO of your company, start by creating a business idea. Even these objectives can be further broken down into smaller actionable items that you can immediately implement.
Setting SMART Recovery Goals
Both institutions and individuals use SMART objectives as a method of settings objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. These objectives build up to your bigger goals. The SMART method can help you understand the necessary steps to achieve your goal and give you a framework for achieving them.
A specific objective gives concrete details on what you need to do. You might ask yourself:
- Is the objective actionable?
- Can I implement it in my life immediately?
- What is the expected outcome of the objective?
- Do I have the materials and resources needed to complete this objective?
These questions will help you determine whether your objective is specific enough. If it is, you can move on to the next step.
A measurable objective means there is a way to track the success or completion of the objective. This allows you to celebrate the success of completing steps to reach your goal. Completing a measured objective provides immediate gratification that will ignite motivation toward your goal.
An achievable objective is possible. You might want to consider the resources you have access to, the time you dedicate to the objective, and the obstacles in your way. Recognize the challenges you might face when trying to complete this objective. Brainstorm ways you’ll be able to navigate around or overcome limitations. If the obstacles seem impossible, then it might signify that the objective needs to be further broken down. You don’t want to become stuck on an objective that can’t reasonably be finished.
A relevant objective will help you achieve your overall goal. It makes logical sense that this objective must be done before completing the next one. Without this objective, you will not be able to complete your goal. You must take steps in the right order, though. Ask yourself whether this objective is the next one you need to do.
A time-bound objective has a deadline. Creating a timeline that can be broken down into benchmarks will force you to implement your plan. Giving an objective a due date means you must start working on it at a specific time to complete it. When creating deadlines, make sure you are being realistic. Be reasonable with how long you think it will take you to accomplish the objective.
Practicing and Adjusting Your Recovery Goals
Creating objectives is a great way to start a successful recovery. However, achieving your goals will take practice, patience, and confidence. Nobody can change their behavior overnight. Why should you expect yourself to? You may have to practice your objectives repeatedly before completing them.
Sometimes you will have to scrap and readjust your goal-setting plan. It’s easy to become frustrated when you’ve tried everything you can think of, and nothing has worked. However, successful recovery requires freedom from self-judgment. Remember, you aren’t a failure for not being able to complete your objectives. Instead, you must adjust them for your current skillset, resources, and time availability.
Having Confidence in Yourself
Some objectives and goals will be easier to complete than others, but none are impossible. Having the confidence to complete a goal will make the whole process easier. Of course, believing isn’t a magic trick to success. It will make it easier to overcome obstacles along the way, though. You’ll feel more confident as you practice patience and confidence.
Goal setting is important to a successful recovery because it provides a plan of action. You want to create objectives for your goals that fit the SMART method. It will prevent frustration and make your goals easier to achieve. Restoration Recovery Center can guide you on your recovery journey. We can teach you the skills needed to meet your recovery goals. Our mental health professionals can work with you to create SMART goals and encourage long-term recovery. So don’t wait to start a sober and fulfilling life. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, please call (888) 290-0925 to learn about the treatment options.