Goal setting in addiction recovery is an important tool that gives patients things they can aim for once their time in rehab is complete.
After someone finishes recovery, it’s important they have a sense of what will come next and where they would like to be in a few years.
Having goals can make it easier to know what they should do next, with actionable steps they can follow through on right away. Most good things in life take some planning, so it’s important they have access to the tools and resources that they’ll need to succeed.
This could be as simple as reaching out within your community to find opportunities or deciding to take part in a vocational class or specified training.
Today’s economy offers people some truly unique opportunities, with a booming technology sector and “gig-share” ride-sharing jobs.
Always try to stay realistic and choose only highly-attainable things at first until you feel genuinely ready to do more.
Why it’s Important to Have Goals
Having goals in place accomplishes many important things, but one of them is that it allows the individual to track their progress and make continual assessments about where they are to make additional improvements.
Once the person can see they are taking real action to make their goals come true, it offers positive motivation to keep going. This can also be beneficial for those dealing with self-esteem problems, and help them grow in confidence as they gain more experience pursuing their interests.
Establishing a sense of purpose is also very important for the individual entering sobriety, so having goals in place makes this far easier to achieve.
Here are some more reasons why setting goals is important:
What Kind of Goals Should The Person Set?
The person must think about their skills, strengths, and passions to help them best navigate their path toward a more rewarding and productive lifestyle.
These goals may be set across any number of categories or areas but could include personal finances, relationships, and goals in sobriety and mental well-being.
It’s good to stay active, so including regular exercise or even just walks may help the person stay refreshed and let go of any stress or anxiety for a better chance at stability.
Trying to set intermediary goals such as obtaining a role of employment by a certain date or enrolling in additional classes or healthy activities could be things that the person wishes to pursue in the medium-term.
It will also provide an opportunity for them to recognise any potential problem areas or obstacles they will need to address as time goes on.
The individual is still getting the ground set beneath them, so it’s important to be realistic and not try to do too much too quickly.
How to Set Goals
All aspects of a person’s recovery strategy should be included when making goals, including the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the subject.
Try to include those closest to the person or passions and activities they like to take part in.
It shouldn’t be overlooked to put everything clearly in writing so you can have a statement of purpose as a road-map.
Setting Goals Right Using the S.M.A.R.T. Method
S.M.A.R.T. provides a framework and approach to the goal-setting process through clear concepts to be mindful of when setting your goals.
By following it, you can be more likely to set effective goals that will have an impact for the better.
Since S.M.A.R.T. is an initialism that represents distinct contributions to the process, let’s look at each one in more detail to better understand what they stand for.
- Specific: Try to narrow your goals down as much as possible, including any details or information that may be useful for getting where you want to be. As an example, if you were hoping to lose weight, it would be more helpful to write “I want to lose 20 pounds in four months” rather than, “I want to lose weight.”
- Measurable: The person needs to be able to track their progress as they move along, and having measurable goals will make it easier to make the proper choices and take appropriate action to see them come to fruition. Being able to see the progress that has been made will give you a great overview of where to go next
- Attainable: Goals should be focused on things that are able for the person to achieve, so it’s important to have a strong sense of what resources and opportunities are available to the individual. Take time to think about where you’d like to be in terms of a career, and do your research as well as speaking with employers or professionals to streamline your progress
- Relevant: Since there needs to be a sense of purpose behind the steps that the individual is taking, they need to matter to that person and relate to themself in some way. It should matter to the person that they want to better their situation and become more self-reliant for a greater degree of control over their life
- Timely: This is where having clear timelines in place for reaching your goals can be helpful. That way, you can make adjustments to them as needed or try something different if it doesn’t work ours. As you can see, the S.M.A.R.T. system is designed to guide in the process of setting practical and meaningful goals that will truly help the individual live a better and drug or alcohol-free life. Taking this approach with a qualified specialist who is trained in these areas can be a proactive way to set the individual on a great course for the future. Don’t be upset at the first sign of failure, instead go back to the basics and take another look at your goals and what can be improved
Other Things to Consider
Ambitions are a good thing, but it’s wise to break down bigger goals into more manageable tasks to work on for a clearer way of getting there.
The goals should not be made as a way of satisfying someone else, and while it’s good to think big, we also don’t want to set ourselves up for failure.
Looking too far down the road while ignoring what is right in front of the individual won’t allow them to stay as engaged as they need to be for getting there.
Keeping this in mind, it’s a good move to look closer ahead by making daily, weekly, and monthly goals as well that are closer insight.
Friends and family are more important than goals, so the individual should be sure to spend quality time with those they love and stay focused on building positive and encouraging relationships with others.
When goals are written down on paper, it makes the person feel as if they are more accountable for them, and do more to get them achieved.
Having the motivation to keep pushing ahead is essential for success, so make sure the person thinks about the positives in their life and takes steps to care for their psychological and emotional health.
Leaving Room for Adjustment
Staying sober is an on-going process, so the patent should be accepting of themselves in the process and be ready to approach things the way they really are. Finding a job may take time, and that’s okay if it gets the person to where they need to be.
When progress gets hard to come by, make sure to celebrate the other things taking place within the person’s life such as attending regular group therapy meetings or continuing to improve their mental or physical state of being.
Taking a comprehensive approach to getting better will help you enjoy making strides in one area, even if others aren’t going as well as they possibly could.