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Goals are general guidelines for what you want to achieve in both the short and long term. There may be things about your life or character that you would like to improve. This article will discuss what to consider when setting goals in addiction treatment. 

Why Set Goals in Addiction Treatment? 

Setting goals is a crucial activity in addiction treatment for two main reasons. Goals keep you focused and motivated to reach your target. In addition, the decisions you make along your recovery journey are more likely to result in successful outcomes when you understand the direction you’re headed and why.

Don’t Forget Your Objectives

If goals are the “what,” objectives are the “how,” “where,” and “when.” Whereas goals are generally vaguer, objectives are specific and measurable. Objectives outline specific action steps that need to be taken. One objective may require you to complete a number of small tasks. Objectives can also have deadlines for completion if necessary. 

The purpose of creating objectives is to help you achieve your goals by identifying and dividing up the work it will take to reach your target into manageable pieces. 

Multiple Pathways to Success

Every action taken comes with an opportunity cost. This means that whatever you decide to do right now, you are forgoing the opportunity to be engaged in something else. These are also known as trade-offs. 

Trade-offs are essential to think about when setting objectives because your resources are finite. There are costs and benefits that have to be weighed for each decision you make. Brainstorming alternative pathways to achieving your goals guides you in choosing the most appropriate objectives to make the best use of your time and energy. 

Consider This Scenario 

You have just enrolled in an addiction treatment program and are crafting your recovery plan with your therapist. What is your goal? 

Goal: Get through Partial Hospitalization (PHP) without relapsing


  • Express when I’m having cravings to my therapist 
  • Identify my triggers and apply coping strategies learned in therapy
    • Get a notebook tomorrow morning to record my triggers 
  • Spend time getting used to the idea of my therapist’s suggestion of family therapy
    • Follow up with my therapist sometime next week to let her know my thoughts
  • Try new hobbies like creative arts to establish a new outlet for negative thoughts
    • Go to that group music session at 2 p.m. on Tuesday

Sometimes you can further refine your objectives into smaller parts to clarify when and where things should be taking place.

What Are Important Tips to Keep in Mind? 

Once you have a good understanding of what constitutes a goal and objective and its tasks, you can start to draft your own plan. 

While your goals might be easy to identify, objectives can be trickier. Consider using the acronym SMART to help you develop effective objectives:

  • Specific: Using verbs, your objectives state in detail the mental and physical measures that will be taken. Anyone should be able to understand what is written.
  • Measurable: Your objectives include metrics for progress where necessary, helping you stay on schedule. Ask yourself, How will I know when I have met my objective?
  • Achievable: Your objectives are realistic given your current circumstances and resource endowments. Consider possible contingencies. 
  • Relevant: Your objectives directly address the issue at hand, such as completing PHP without relapsing.
  • Time-bound: Your objectives include a timeline for completion. 

Celebrate Achievements, No Matter How Small

Patience is a virtue, especially in addiction recovery. This timeless adage should serve as a reminder to give yourself credit where credit is due. Addiction can take some time to heal from, and there are many ups and downs along the road. Some days you might feel like you’re making progress, while others might feel like you haven’t moved an inch. 

Recovery happens in small steps for many people, but every action you take toward achieving your goal is something worth celebrating. Allow yourself the pleasure of feeling good about what you have achieved instead of feeling defeated about what you have not. Gratitude and positivity can help you stay motivated even when things get tough. 

Addiction Treatment Can Change Everything 

Making the decision to start addiction treatment can be overwhelming. You may feel confused and frustrated or fearful of what comes next. Thinking about setting goals might not be at the top of your to-do list right now, even though you might yearn for a life change. 

Fortunately, there are treatment facilities like West Coast Recovery Centers that are on a mission to inspire and empower client transformation. Experienced healthcare professionals are there at every step to support clients on their addiction recovery journey and to help them achieve their recovery goals.  

In addiction treatment, clients work alongside healthcare providers to set goals they want to achieve in recovery and their personal lives. This vital task serves as motivation as well as an accountability tool. Clients can see how far they’ve come and continue to work towards their target. Addiction is a powerful force to be reckoned with, and any steps taken toward overcoming it deserve acknowledgment. West Coast Recovery Centers is an addiction treatment center located in Oceanside, CA. We treat different types of addictions, including alcohol, stimulants, party drugs, opioids, and marijuana. Here, our clinicians work closely with each client to ensure that treatment matches the needs of their client. Ultimately, we strive to provide the highest quality care so that treatment outcomes are successful and enduring. Call our office today to learn more about how we can guide your recovery at (760) 492-6509.

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
Jackson House Visalia (540056AP), Valid through May 15, 2025
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