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5 Tips for Setting and Reaching Recovery Goals

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The process of overcoming addiction consists of achieving milestones.  In rehab, you learned the importance of setting and reaching recovery goals. Without a plan, you can easily go off course or become discouraged.  That’s when relapse is likely to occur.  

Recovery GoalsThis is the beginning of a new beginning, which means letting go of the past. Now is the time to focus on the present and the future. So, what steps have you included in your plan for reaching recovery goals?  

If you’re having trouble setting goals, try a new approach.  Think of the plan as following directions for a road trip.  When you set out on a trip to an unfamiliar place, you rely on a GPS to plot the route for you.  You follow the directions, one by one until you reach your destination.  Similarly, setting and reaching your recovery goals is like plotting a course to follow.  You become your own GPS.

At Design for Change Recovery, we understand the challenges you’ll face on your recovery journey.  Each day, you may face obstacles that are unexpected.  To help you create a plan for dealing with these challenges, we offer a few suggestions for staying on track in recovery that may be helpful.

How to Create a Plan for Reaching Your Recovery Goals

Although you won’t have a GPS to guide you, you can still reach your goals if you plan step by step.  Here are a few suggestions:

Set Measurable Goals

What is a measurable goal?  It is not something you can measure in traditional terms.  But, if your goal is to attend one self-help meeting per week, and you do that, you can say you met that goal.  Don’t say “I want to go to counseling.”  Instead, say “I will go to counseling every Thursday.”  By defining your goals this way, you will have something more tangible to strive for. 

Be Specific

Vague goals will make it easy for you to get off track.  You must be specific and take action to reach the goal.  Begin by setting short-term and long-term goals.  For example, apologize to your loved one rather than just thinking about it.  Having better relationships is important to your well-being during this sensitive time.

Focus on Meaningful Goals

It is important to remember that your recovery is a personal journey.  If you set goals that aren’t meaningful to you, it will be easy to skip them.  Instead, pick an accomplishment that you will feel proud of.  For example, working out at a gym, playing sports, learning to play a musical instrument, or simply going for walks regularly are all ways to improve your self-image and your health.

Be Realistic

Try to avoid setting goals that will be difficult to reach, especially during early recovery.  The stress and frustration may make you feel as if you’ve failed.  Reaching recovery goals is not about seeing how much you can accomplish.  It’s about setting realistic goals and reaching them one at a time.  

Here are some guidelines that may help you set realistic goals:

  • Let go of the past and focus on the present and future.
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out for support and guidance.
  • Focus on what you want to happen.
  • Think of yourself as strong, confident, and capable.
  • Recognize the difference between goals and dreams.

Think about what you want to change about your relationships, lifestyle, career, finances, and personal development.  Set one goal at a time, and once it’s achieved, move to the next.  Recovery is a journey that you take in increments, just like following the route on a road trip.  You know where you want to go, but you need a plan for getting there.

Be Ambitious, But Don’t Overdo It

Your enthusiasm for starting a new, sober lifestyle is great.  But, be careful not to expect too much of yourself in the beginning.  If you’re too ambitious and don’t accomplish everything that you planned, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.

When Setting Recovery Goals Ask Yourself These Questions

Putting everything into perspective after rehab is often an overwhelming task.  It may be difficult at first to focus on where to begin.  Start by asking yourself some specific questions to help you gain a more in-depth look at what you want to accomplish.  

Below are a few questions that can help you figure out how to change your life for the better.

  • What do I miss about my life before recovery?
  • Things that make me feel better, even for a short time?
  • What do I like about my life now?
  • Things I would like to be different now?
  • What was my greatest achievement?
  • What do I want to be doing one year from now?

It’s important that you allow yourself to be flexible in reaching recovery goals.  At times, you may feel like giving up.  But, even small achievements are a step in the right direction.  If things are being too difficult, reevaluate your plan, and make changes if needed.  

Design for Change Cares About Your Recovery Success

Reaching recovery goals begins with our evidence-based, comprehensive program that seeks to heal the whole person.  Our methodologies focus on healing the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of addiction for lasting recovery.  

If you have a friend or loved one who needs addiction treatment, contact Design for Change Recovery at our Lancaster, CA facility.  We want to help them overcome addiction so that they, too, can live a fulfilling, healthier life.


5 Tips for Setting and Reaching Recovery Goals