How You Can Set Realistic Recovery Goals

goal setting Apr 22, 2023

A big part of maintaining recovery is by setting realistic goals. Whether you're in the early stages of your journey or you've been working towards recovery for some time, setting achievable goals can help you stay focused, motivated, and accountable. Here are some tips to help you set realistic goals:

  1. Be specific and concrete. When setting goals, it's important to be as clear and specific as possible. Instead of saying "I want to get better," try to identify specific actions or outcomes that will help you get there. For example, "I want to attend at least three support group meetings per week".

  2. Set small, achievable goals. Breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps can help you build momentum and avoid feeling overwhelmed or disappointed. For example, if your ultimate goal is to quit smoking, start by setting a goal to reduce your daily cigarette intake by one or two cigarettes per day.

  3. Focus on the process, not just the outcome. While it's important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve, it's equally important to focus on the steps you need to take to get there. Rather than fixating on the end result, try to be present during the process and celebrate the small wins along the way.

  4. Be flexible and adaptable. Life is unpredictable, and setbacks and obstacles are inevitable. It's important to be flexible and adaptable when setting goals, and to be willing to adjust your plans as needed. Remember that setbacks are not failures, but opportunities to learn and grow.

  5. Hold yourself accountable. One of the most important aspects of setting realistic goals is holding yourself accountable. This might mean keeping a journal, tracking your progress, or sharing your goals with a trusted friend, therapist or support group (your recovery team). Having someone to check in with can help you stay on track and motivated.

Setting realistic goals is a crucial part of the recovery journey for those living with substance use and addiction concerns. By being specific, setting small goals, focusing on the process, being adaptable, and holding yourself accountable, you can take steps towards maintaining recovery. Remember, recovery is a journey, not a destination, and setting realistic goals can help you stay focused and motivated along the way.