New Year, New You. The Importance of Goal Setting in Recovery.

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By Liz Rozovsky, BBA, LMSW

Like clockwork, a new year is upon us accompanied by the eagerness to make a fresh start. January is the time of year for making resolutions and setting goals, and those in recovery from addiction are no strangers to taking strides to make big changes in their everyday lives. It is important to develop measurable goals as well as identify a support network as you map out goals for the year.

Similar to personal development objectives, addiction recovery goals should use SMART Criteria: the goals should be specific, measurable, agreed, realistic and time based. If goals are too vague and without a time line, you may have a difficult time making progress and achieving your goals. It is important to understand what you are trying to achieve in order to accomplish your personal goals.

Many of the goals people in recovery make are centered around staying sober. It is not uncommon for people to make new goals, resolutions and aspire to change things around the first of the year. Around this time, a person admittedly wants to dedicate him or herself to a new journey and path to recovery. The desire for recovery is a step in the right direction but in order to make lasting effect it should be followed by a commitment for subsequent action steps. For example: A patient was released from treatment after 30 days and now agrees to attend an outpatient program. That patient’s commitment to their recovery is to commit to attending a 5-6 day PHP program in their community, to check in with their sponsor, and to keep up to date with their treatment plan goals. They can set that goal with their treatment provider for 30 days and then measure the patient’s progress at the end. In this example there is a specific goal, that is measurable achievable, realistic and time based.

Another important factor in setting goals is to be able to have a support system in place; such as a loved one, friend, sponsor, who can work together with you and help you stay committed. They can be there during moments when you may feel like you are falling, slipping, or simply want to give up.

Goal setting is another way for you ensure that you can be successful in your recovery journey and have a level of accountability.  Remember Greg Reid’s famous words; “A dream written with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”

Here’s to the New Year, goal setting, and making your recovery journey and dreams come true!