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Setting Goals for Recovery Success

Recovery from addiction is long and hard, but not impossible. Setting goals during recovery can help you stay on track and maintain long-term sobriety. These goals keep you motivated and focused. If you are looking for addiction treatment in Richmond VA, your recovery team can tell you about goal setting and its importance. 

Why is Goal Setting Important in Recovery?

Goals are realistic objectives that help measure how far you have come in your recovery journey. When you achieve goals, no matter how small, your confidence gets boosted. Goals also make you responsible and accountable. Here are some benefits of goal setting during recovery:

Aids Self-Examination

You must take time to reflect on your current situation and prioritize things that are most important to you. How do you want to spend your time? How important are family and friends to you? How do you see yourself living in a few years? Setting goals lets you sit down and think about all these aspects.

Aids Positive Thinking

Successful goal setting means you will have to focus your mind and energy on what you want and not what you don’t want. Focusing on things that you cannot achieve will prevent you from setting healthy goals. You must look at your recovery positively. This will keep you motivated and reduce the pressure of staying on track. Most people don’t see themselves in a positive light after years of substance use and addiction. Picturing yourself growing with confidence will enable you to handle recovery challenges well. 

Helps You Focus on the Future

A major part of addiction recovery is accepting that you cannot change the past. While you may never have thought about your future before, recovery gives you a chance to sit and think about what you want it to look like. Whether it is connecting with people you have lost touch with due to addiction or fulfilling dreams that you left behind, recovery will allow you to focus on these activities and pursue them. 

How to Set SMART Goals?

Individuals who are successful in addiction recovery usually set SMART goals for themselves. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

Specific Goals: Instead of setting generic goals like “I am going to stay strong during recovery,” focus on specific actions. For instance, attending counseling sessions on time regularly is a specific goal. Once you decide on your specific goal, note it down. Studies have shown that people who write their goals down are 33% more likely to achieve them.

Measurable: You can measure specific goals. Ensure your goals are measurable, like attending four recovery meetings in a week, sending out resumes to five companies, or going for a walk five nights. Assigning a number to these goals is an easy way to know what you’re working for. 

Attainable: You must set goals that you can achieve by yourself. If you set unattainable goals, you will get demotivated and lose confidence in yourself. Sit down and think about what you can do in your current situation. Set small goals that you can increase as you progress in your recovery. One of the cornerstones of rebuilding one’s life is rebuilding one’s self-confidence – small goals, even as basic as waking up at the same time every day, and brushing one’s teeth, lead to the confidence required to pursue bigger goals in life. 

Realistic: Setting realistic goals is critical to recovery. You may think you can stop smoking in a year. In theory, is it really going to be possible? Quitting smoking within a year may not be possible for someone new to recovery. Instead, smoking 10-20% less than before could be a more realistic goal. You can keep increasing the percentage until you eventually quit completely. 

Timely: It is essential to set a goal with a timeframe in mind. Sit down and think about how long it will take to achieve your goal. Don’t keep a very long timeframe. 1-3 months is ideal. Having a time-bound goal will help you stay focused and motivated. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time allotted for its completion, and this is no different with our goals – setting timely goals allows for us to reduce procrastination. 

Types of Goals to Set in Recovery

Your recovery goals can be based on what you learn during your therapy and recovery journey. For instance, your stress may trigger substance use, so working on stress control can help control the urge to use. Or you may have several negative thoughts in your head that bring down your self-worth. Working with a therapist to eliminate these thoughts can improve your self-worth.

Here are some goals that you can set for yourself to ensure you stay on track with your addiction recovery:

Quiet Time Each Day

Try to incorporate quiet time into your day. This will help you relax and reflect on your progress. You can meditate for 15-20 minutes, keep a journal to note down your life experiences, or go on a walk while listening to calming music. Choose an activity that will bring you peace and happiness.

Take Care of Your Health Everyday

One of the most common triggers for reoccurrence of use during addiction recovery is not taking care of your health. Ensure you eat healthily, exercise regularly, get good sleep, and maintain a stable work/life balance. 

Attend Recovery Meetings Regularly

Life will get busy for you when you focus on personal growth and move away from addiction. No matter how busy your life gets, make sure you attend your recovery meetings regularly. This is critical for long-term sobriety. The following activities can help you stay on track:

  • Speaking to your mentor or sponsor
  • Meeting your therapist once a week
  • Attending a community recovery meeting
  • Seeking out a local support group for mental health recovery
  • Visiting a 12-step group therapy session

Commit to Improving Your Existing Relationships and Making New Healthy Ones

Addiction grows when you are alone. Though you may not be able to set goals that involve another person, you can put in your 100% towards relationships. Set aside time to connect with friends and family and spend quality time with them.

Work with an Organization to Help You with Recovery

McShin can help you achieve your addiction recovery goals. We work with families and individuals to help them in their fight against substance abuse disorders. We educate families and communities about addiction and its stigma. Our goal is to provide recovering individuals and their families with any support they need to create positive lifestyles. 

Mcshin Foundation, 

2300 Dumbarton Road Richmond VA 23228, 


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