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Setting Goals In Addiction Recovery

By January 14, 2019 April 29th, 2019 No Comments
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As we enter the new year, many of us will have made some resolutions that we hope to fulfill during 2019. This kind of goal-setting can be really useful and can help us to identify and achieve our ambitions. In addiction recovery, goal-setting can be a great method to use, providing a number of benefits.

Specific, practical goals can help you to develop strategies for achieving long-term ambitions in manageable stages. It can also help to provide purpose and motivation to work towards important targets. Goals should be specific and measurable so that you can chart your progress. You can also adjust and evaluate goals as you work towards them. When clients leave treatment with Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres, they are provided with a detailed discharge plan. One of the central features of these plans is the identification of measurable goals and methods achieving them.

As recovery affects every aspect of your life, goals should also not be limited strictly to your recovery. Other changes to your lifestyle, your work or your relationships can be aided by setting clear goals. Working towards these goals will in turn have a positive influence on your recovery.

While it is important to be ambitious in setting your goals, you should also carefully consider what is realistically achievable. Gradually working towards practical targets is a much more sustainable approach then aiming for dramatic improvements in many areas. This latter approach may ultimately prove discouraging if you do not fully meet your ambitions.

Establishing Your Goals

As your recovery will interact with the other aspects of your life, any positive commitments you make will benefit it. You might choose to focus on your physical health by getting more exercise, improving your diet or establishing a better sleeping pattern. Focusing on improving your mental health by working on the important relationships in your life is also a great goal to set. Ensuring that you have enough time to relax or socialize, or spending more time outdoors, are also excellent goals to set.

You might also set goals for your professional life, such as finding a good job or, if you already have one, improving your productivity or your work-life balance. Identifying goals around education can also be a good idea. You might aim to achieve financial stability by budgeting more carefully or improving your professional circumstances. Aiming to spend more time with family and friends and thinking of ways to do this is another positive commitment. Working towards these sorts of goals will also benefit your mental health and your recovery.

New Activities

Focusing on spending more time on a particular hobby, or developing a new one, can also be a really productive goal to set. Investing time and energy in an activity you enjoy can provide significant benefit to your physical and mental health. One challenge faced by many people in recovery is filling the time they once spent using or obtaining alcohol or substances; an enjoyable hobby can really help in dealing with this issue. You might also aim to become more involved with your community for similar reasons. This can also be very positive for your mental health, as it builds your social network and allows you to help others. Identifying specific habits you wish to replace and new ones you can use to replace them is a really good method for setting goals.

Some goals directly related to recovery might include regularly attending meetings or support groups, avoiding triggering scenarios or people and being less critical of yourself. Resolving to learn from any mistakes that you make can also benefit your recovery and your life more generally. If you are enrolled in treatment programs such as Trafalgar’s Continuation of Care counselling, resolving to commit fully to this support is also a great idea.


Once you have identified your goals, you should consider how to prioritize them. This may mean dedicating more time to your highest priorities or focusing on them first. You should place the goals that are most directly related to your physical and mental well-being highest. Once you have worked towards these goals, it will make achieving the others easier.

Daily Progress

Focusing on the future can be very beneficial to addiction recovery. However, it is also important to focus on progressing through each day. Identifying smaller, measurable goals that will help you move towards larger ambitions is a great way of focusing your recovery. Thinking about these overarching ambitions and breaking them down into the stages required to get there is an effective strategy. Clear goals also help to provide a sense of purpose and motivation. You can also develop and adjust your goals as you progress.

Set Clear Deadlines and Targets

As well as setting specific goals, it is important to make them achievable. While you should be ambitious in your plans, you should also think about what you can realistically achieve in a set timeframe. Making consistent, gradual progress is more sustainable than setting extremely high targets which may ultimately prove discouraging.

Establishing clear timelines also helps to provide motivation and to define your plans. Identifying your goals for the whole year is a great idea, but breaking them down into smaller segments will help you to maintain focus and to think clearly about your targets. Planning in this way also makes your goals feel tangible and achievable. In the same way that sportspeople are encouraged to visualise what they intend to do before performing the action, thinking clearly about what it will take to achieve your goals will help you to succeed.

Focus On Your Purpose

As you work towards your goals, it is important to remember why you are doing this work. Consider the impact that your efforts are having on your life and the lives of those around you. Remember that you are not working towards your goals because other people want you to or because you feel that you should, but for yourself. Think about the benefits that they are already having and those that will emerge as you continue. This will help you to stay motivated and avoid lapsing into a less productive routine.

From all of us at Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres, good luck meeting your goals in the year ahead!

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

Trafalgar Addiction Treatment Centres

We offer residential and outpatient rehab treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.

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