Get Help Now: (888) 989-9690
Get Help Now: (888) 989-9690

Setting Intentional Goals for Recovery

Goals in Recovery provide a reason to get out of your comfort zone, take action, and work towards something meaningful.

So January 1st has come and gone and, with it, any resolutions jotted down in all the excitement of a new year. A sad but true fact is approximately 80 percent of us abandon New Year’s promises. Does that mean goals are pointless? Not all all—but you may have to enhance your ability to set intentional goals for recovery that pave the way for success.

Why Do Recovery Goals Matter?  

Humans thrive with a sense of purpose. Psychologist Fitzhugh Dodson once said, “Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” From boosting your wellness to attaining better employment opportunities, many phases of life benefit from deliberate intention and action. 

Mind Tools states “by setting sharp, clearly defined goals, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals, and you’ll see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. You will also raise your self-confidence as you recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you’ve set.” 

Here are some other ways your recovery goals are beneficial in your personal and professional pursuits.

  • They add to your sense of motivation and drive. Goals provide a reason to get out of your comfort zone, take action, and work towards something meaningful.
  • When you set specific targets, you are more likely to take responsibility for your actions and stay committed to your objectives. You may have already discovered this when you decided to choose sobriety and do the work in recovery.
  • Pursuing goals expands personal growth and development. This state encourages you to acquire new skills, overcome challenges, and expand your capabilities.
  • When faced with choices, you can evaluate options based on their alignment with your goals, leading to better decision-making and reduced uncertainty.
  • Setting and achieving goals empowers you. It gives you a sense of control over your life and circumstances, fostering a belief in your ability to shape your own destiny.
  • Working towards goals can improve resilience. Facing challenges and setbacks becomes part of the journey, and overcoming obstacles strengthens your ability to bounce back from adversity.

When you set purposeful goals, you focus attention on important things by manifesting a vision of how you want life to be and making it a reality. 

6 Tips for Setting Meaningful Goals in Recovery 

PositivePsychology.com indicates that “research supports the idea that the most effective performance seems to be the result of goals being both specific and challenging. When goals are used to evaluate performance and linked to feedback on results, they create a sense of commitment and acceptance.” Here are some tried-and-true pointers for creating significant goals for yourself. 

Start with the SMART criteria. First developed by business consultant George T. Doran, this framework guides you to structure goals that are: 

  • S—Specific: Clearly define what you want to accomplish.
  • M—Measurable: Establish criteria to track your progress.
  • A—Achievable: Ensure the goal is realistic and attainable.
  • R—Relevant: Align the goal with your values and broader objectives.
  • T—Time-Bound: Set a specific timeframe for achieving the goal.

 Here’s how this method might work. 

  1. Be specific and clear. Vague or overly general goals can be challenging to achieve. Instead of saying, “I want to get in shape,” specify what that means for you, such as “I want to run a 5K in six months.”

  2. Have an action plan. Develop a detailed plan outlining the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and measure success. Identify smaller tasks within the goal and consider potential obstacles. This approach increases the likelihood of accomplishment and provides guidance along the way.

  3. Make them achievable but realistic. Set goals that are challenging yet achievable. Unrealistic goals may cause frustration and ultimately, demotivation. Break down large goals into smaller, manageable steps.

  4. Align goals with your values. The key to meaningful goals that you’ll stick with are those that resonate with what’s really important to you.  Consider how achieving the goal will contribute to your overall sense of purpose and fulfillment.

  5. Set a timeline. Adding a time frame creates a sense of urgency and helps you stay focused. Set both short-term and long-term deadlines to track your progress and maintain momentum.

In this podcast from the Greater Good Science Center, individuals also discuss the importance of establishing exactly why you’re setting certain goals.

Books That Help With Goal-Setting in Recovery

Want a little more insight into this process? Here are some books that might help:

  • Goals! How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible by Brian Tracy
  • How to Begin: Start Doing Something That Matters by Michael Bungay Stanier
  • All It Takes Is a Goal: The 3-Step Plan to Ditch Regret and Tap Into Your Massive Potential by Jon Acuff
  • Creating Your Best Life: The Ultimate Life List Guide by Caroline Adams Miller and Michael Frisch
  • Fast Forward: 5 Power Principles to Create the Life You Want in Just One Year by Wendy Leshgold and Lisa McCarthy
  • The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery by Brianna Weist
  • Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things by Adam Grant
  • Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  • Goal Setting: The Ultimate Guide to Achieving Goals That Truly Excite You by Thibaut Meurisse
  • The 90-Day Goals Journal: A Daily Check-In to Stay Motivated and on Track by Emily Cassel

Find More Guidance From Fair Oaks

At Fair Oaks Recovery Center in Sacramento, California, we provide numerous tools and techniques to help you craft a more meaningful life in recovery. From the development of comprehensive continuing care plans to engaging alumni activities, we want to be your partner in progress. Reach out if you’re ready to make positive changes happen in your life.

Fair Oaks Recovery Center of california - sacramento alcohol and drug addiction treatment center

For more information about programs offered at Fair Oaks Recovery Center, including our intensive outpatient program in Sacramento, please call us today at (888) 989-9690.
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