When you finish treatment, you might feel overwhelmed by your new life. Sobriety leaves plenty of free time, and with that often comes boredom. You might find yourself without a purpose. You may have all these things you want to achieve in your new life, but don’t know where to start. Feeling this way can be very stressful. You may begin to wonder if you have set yourself up for failure. This is why goal-setting is crucial to recovery — and you need to get started now.
Goals are things that you hope to accomplish that can be achieved in a concrete and realistic way. They can take a lot of work and effort, but the feeling of accomplishment is worth it. Every person’s goals are different and depend on your own needs and interests. In the 12-Step recovery program, milestones are a form of goal-setting. Once you’ve achieved a milestone, you receive a reward.
Keep reading to learn why goal-setting is so important and how you can set realistic goals in recovery and in life.
Goals Give You Something To Stay Sober For
Goal-setting can seem overwhelming at the beginning stages of recovery. Sometimes just staying sober can be difficult, but there’s nothing wrong with focusing on that goal and building your foundation. When you made the decision to seek sobriety, you probably had motivations. Now those same motivations are essential after treatment as well because they push you to grow and focus on the future.
A good beginning goal after treatment might be completing a 12-Step program. If you regularly attend meetings, you are maintaining a basic goal. Every meeting gives you something to look forward to and fills your schedule. It can also give you a feeling of control over your life because you are actively making the decision to achieve this goal.
Goals Improve Your Self-esteem
When you abused substances, chances are that you had a poor self-image and low self-esteem. You might still feel like you can’t do anything right or that you aren’t worth love and care. It can be hard to get out of this mindset, but goal-setting can help. Setting realistic goals and then completing them can give you a wonderful sense of achievement.
Goal-setting and achieving goals can also change your perception of yourself. Throughout this process, you can develop a clearer sense of self as you reflect on your values, recognize your needs, and add more structure to your life. You’ll soon realize that you’re a capable and strong person. If you are afraid of failing, try to look at your goals from the perspective of progress. How far have you come? Any progress is an accomplishment.
Goals Make You Feel In Control
Before treatment, you probably felt like you were just a passenger along for the ride instead of sitting in the driver’s seat. As things spiraled, you might have used substances to escape from the pain, stress, frustration, and emptiness you were feeling. Being out of control can be scary. You deserve to have agency over your life.
Goal-setting allows you to hold yourself responsible for your own journey. It gives you direction, motivation, and meaning. In treatment, you likely learned what things are in your control and what things aren’t, and that can be liberating. When you set goals, you are accepting accountability and making decisions for yourself.
Goals Give You Something Positive To Focus On
After treatment, it’s normal to feel a sense of shame. Your head might be in the past, focused on who you’ve hurt and the pain you felt. But the truth is that there’s nothing we can do about our past. The past is over, and it’s out of our control. All we control now is our present.
As you set present-day goals based on your values, you can take an active approach to your life. It’s okay to start small, like making it through the day sober, and reset that goal every day. You may also want to focus on improving your personal relationships to alleviate any stress or shame that you feel.
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Some of the biggest setbacks that people face when setting goals are that their goals are too vague, too unrealistic, or too insignificant. If you set your goals too far out of reach, you might be setting yourself up for failure, which can lead to frustration, stress, feelings of worthlessness, and potentially relapse.
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals can give you a better opportunity for success. S.M.A.R.T goals are:
Specific – What exactly do you want to accomplish?
Measurable – How much or how often?
Achievable – Can you realistically do this? How can you break it down into smaller steps?
Relevant – Why do you want to achieve this goal? What is your motivation?
Timely – What is your goal’s deadline? How long should it take?
Remember, your goals don’t have to be enormous. Staying sober each day is an accomplishment in itself, and we encourage you to acknowledge all your victories in recovery.
Goal-setting and feeling a sense of purpose are important to recovery and to life. By focusing on what you want to achieve, you can become a healthier, stronger, and better person with a more secure foundation. The early stages of recovery can be overwhelming for many reasons, and you might feel a void where your substance of choice used to be. But setting goals can help fill that void, add structure and meaning to your life, and give you something to fight for every day. By setting realistic goals and focusing on the progress you’ve made, your self-esteem has nowhere to go but up. Here at Renaissance Ranch, we recognize the importance of goal-setting and its positive effect on self-image, sense of purpose, and personal empowerment. We are ready to help you thrive. To learn more about goal-setting in recovery and how our programs can help you achieve long-term sobriety, call us today at (801) 308-8898.