Setting attainable goals and expectations is very important for all aspects of your life, especially during recovery. They allow you to have something to look forward to and work toward. This motivates you to keep your life on track to reach your goals. Setting realistic goals also helps so you don’t get discouraged during recovery.
At Spero Recovery, we want to teach you how to create and stick to these goals.
Recovery Is a Journey
Recovery is the process you undergo to improve your mental and physical well-being and work toward being self-fulfilled while adopting a new sober lifestyle.
There is a multitude of recovery programs out there. They include inpatient, outpatient, 12-Step programs, and non-12-Step focused programs, but each can be run differently. The programs have different costs, timeframes, restrictions, and therapies used. This allows you, as a person struggling with addiction, to find the program that best fits your needs.
Twelve-Step programs help you to discover a higher power to help you understand that your substance addiction is a mental health condition. This higher power does not necessarily have to be God. There is no requirement to believe in God or religion to participate in 12-Step programs. The higher power is there so you can accept that your addiction is out of your control.
Just because they want you to understand that your addiction cannot be controlled by you alone does not mean you are not responsible for the consequences while using the substance. A considerable part of 12-Step programs is that you accept accountability for your behavior and actions and seek forgiveness from yourself and those you may have affected.
How Are Unattainable Goals and Expectations Harmful?
Setting goals and expectations for yourself in recovery can help you stay motivated, know where you are headed, and keep you accountable. If these goals are too big or difficult to accomplish, then they lose their effectiveness and can actually harm your recovery.
Not meeting your set expectations can make you feel angry, sad, discouraged, or like you are failing at your recovery. These negative emotions make it hard for you to stay on track and can even make you want to start using again so you don’t have to feel them.
Having goals and expectations so unattainable that they could push you to start using substances again is extremely ineffective. This completely defeats the purpose of setting goals in the first place.
How Can I Make Achievable Goals?
Here are some tips to help you set and accomplish goals:
Determine What Is Most Valuable
Figuring out what is most valuable to you and your future can help in setting your goals and making your plans. These values can include things like creating a family, improving your health, reconnecting with friends, learning something new, being a good parent, having healthy relationships, and buying a house.
Once you have defined these values, rank them from most important to least important. This makes it easier for you to prioritize high-ranking ones for your plans and ensure you are taking the steps to meet them.
Have a Plan
Creating a plan for where you want to see yourself in the future helps you know what your goals should be. You can create plans at various timeframes so that you have something to visualize. These plans can range from one-day to 20-year timelines, so you have different things you are working toward.
Setting the sooner plans also helps you be able to plan and work toward the later ones. This can make it easier for you to change goals to meet further plans if you change your mind or realize that may not be what you want after reaching your sooner plans.
Break Up Big Goals
Breaking up big or long-term goals into smaller portions and short-term goals can help you meet them. It allows them to feel more attainable, gives you little victories as you work toward the bigger picture, and acts to encourage you to keep going to the next goal.
Set Proper Time Frames
Setting accurate and realistic timeframes to reach your goals keeps you on track. It helps ensure you can meet your goals in a timely fashion and keeps you motivated in working toward them. They can also help you distinguish between short- and long-term goals.
Example of How These Tips Can Help
If your highest ranked value is to buy a house, you can start visualizing when you may be able to reach that goal. As the long-term big-picture goal, you may feel it will take five years to buy a house.
This means that you can create short-term goals that include saving a certain amount each month for various aspects of owning a home. You can put a little away each month for the down payment, closing costs, and to be able to buy things to put in the house. You may also want to set an end-of-year goal that has a certain amount for each account by the end of each year.
By having these short-term goals, you are making the long-term goal feel more attainable and giving yourself timeframes to be able to reach them.
Recovery can be a daunting and long journey, but it is one of the most important ones you will take. That’s why it is essential to remember to take it day by day. This will help stop you from getting overwhelmed, anxious, and depressed. You also need to know where you want to go on your journey. This means you have to make attainable goals and expectations so that you can get where you want to while maintaining your recovery path. You are not alone; there are people that want to help you. If you feel like you are struggling to form achievable goals, reach out to Spero Recovery at (303) 351-7888 today.