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Goal-setting plays a crucial role in personal growth. It helps us form new and healthy behaviors that guide our focus and motivation. Goals give us the opportunity to reflect and measure our own improvements in life, especially as we meet small and significant milestones in our own life journey. 

Chronic substance use, addiction, and mental health disorders are physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. While the primary goal in recovery is to get and stay sober, assuming someone can just reach that goal overnight is unrealistic. Instead, the big picture of recovery needs to be broken down into smaller goals that can make the idea of long-term sobriety seem more manageable overall.

It is important to keep in mind that both setting goals and achieving them take time. Setting goals and working towards them is one thing, but remember to give yourself practical and achievable timelines. Goal-setting involves intimate preparation with emphasis on personal reflection. Although it is common to set goals that reflect your dreams and aspirations, there are many consequences involved in doing so. Thus, it is essential to understand how to develop practical plans to build your confidence instead of draining it. 

The Benefits of Goal-Setting in Recovery

Addiction and substance use strip away an individual’s sense of self. Instead of an individual controlling when or how often they are using substances, addiction tends to take control of the individual. With that, goal-setting can seem overwhelming and intimidating even in its earliest stages. 

You are likely exhausted from fighting the consequences of your substance use. Nevertheless, the benefits of goal-setting can work to improve your quality of life in so many ways. Some benefits of goal-setting include:

  • Having a positive influence on your confidence and self-esteem as you meet small and large goals
  • Providing clear direction and focus for your recovery
  • Allowing you to reflect and evaluate your recovery progress
  • Maintaining motivation, which is especially important if setbacks occur
  • Giving a sense of personal satisfaction
  • Encouraging you to prioritize change in your life
  • Providing a better understanding of your own expectations for your actions in recovery
  • Helping to make the decision-making process easier as you rely on your long-term recovery goals
  • Providing a long-lasting purpose to achieve optimal health and wellness

Goal-Setting: Understanding SMART Goals

How can you know whether or not the goals you are committing to are realistic and achievable for your recovery? While you are in treatment, your mental health professional will be able to work through the process of doing just that. While there are many ways of doing so, perhaps one of the most valuable ways is by utilizing the SMART acronym. 

This acronym stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. As you work to create goals for your recovery, rely on the following to ensure that you’re setting yourself up for success. 

  • Specific: When you set goals for your recovery, make sure they are clear and detailed. If the goals you are making are generalized, you will not be able to fully commit to them and feel motivated. Consider the following questions to help you create specific goal guidelines: 
    • Who is involved in this goal? 
    • What do you want to accomplish?
    • Where is it located?
    • Why is this goal important?
    • How can I achieve this goal?
  • Measurable: Measurable goals allow you to track your progress as you work towards long-term recovery. Tracking your progress is essential to executing a plan because it helps you stay focused and meet deadlines, encouraging even further improvement. To help you create measurable goals, focus on setting goals you can achieve on a timeline. Always create small goals that build up to your bigger goals. 
  • Achievable: Achievable goals are realistic. They must be attainable in order for the goal-setting process to be worth it and successful. As you set these goals, prepare all aspects like financial means or other constraints. 
  • Relevant: Relevant goals are goals that relate to your personal life and aspirations. Be sure to create goals that drive your motivation forward, match your efforts and needs, and make your recovery worthwhile. 
  • Time-Bound: Time-bound goals have deadlines that give you something to work towards as you prioritize your recovery in your daily life. To make sure your goals are time-bound, ask yourself the following:
    • When can I achieve this goal?
    • Where will this goal put me in six weeks?
    • Where will this goal put me in six months?
    • What can I do today that will help me achieve this future goal?

Goal-setting is an integral part of the recovery process. Setting goals helps you stay motivated, especially during setbacks. While there are several other benefits of goal-setting, goals must be realistic and achievable in order to set up recovery for success. The SMART acronym can help you to do just that. West Coast Recovery Centers is an addiction and mental health recovery center that can teach you how to create realistic and achievable goals. Recovery can be overwhelming, so it is essential that you have goals in place that you can rely on to guide your decision-making and thought processes along the way. We offer several different treatment programs to meet our clients exactly where they are in their journey. With individualized treatment programs, we can help you identify your needs and goals for your recovery and for your life. For more information about our treatment center, give us a call today at (760) 492-6509.

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