The new year offers a fresh start to everyone, including recovering addicts. This is an excellent opportunity to outline your recovery goals for 2022 and find ways to achieve them.
Why Do You Need Recovery Goals?
Recovery goals serve as guidelines for patients who are in recovery. Having goals and pursuing them keeps a person in check so that they won’t fall back to old patterns. Goals serve as an accountability system that keeps a person in recovery on the right track. These goals may also be used as progress checks for the patient. For example, the mere fact that they are inching towards these goals is a good sign of being able to apply what they have learned in rehab and gaining more control over their urges. Overall, these are beneficial tools that you can use to your advantage to further your recovery.
Setting achievable goals
One important note is to set goals that are perfectly reasonable and achievable. Goals that are too unrealistic will only yield disappointment since you are setting yourself up for failure. Your recovery goals should consist of meaningful and actionable steps towards maintaining your sobriety. These goals should also focus on your physical and mental health since these are your first line of defense against relapse. Here are some examples:
· Improve your diet by reducing sugar and increasing high-density and high-volume healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables
· Reduce your caffeine intake to help you fall asleep faster at night
· Go for short walks outside (one 15-minute walk in the morning and another short walk in the afternoon)
· Practice mindfulness-based meditation every day
· Try new and engrossing hobbies that will help you keep focused, make you feel productive, help with stress management, and generally take your mind off of your addiction
· Learning new skills that will improve the quality of your life and improve your relationships with other people
· Focus on career advancement
· Improving your spirituality or establishing a connection to a higher being
· Being financially literate so you can get better at managing your money
These are just a few examples of healthy habits that you can try to uphold for the rest of the year. You can add more things for as long as they are doable and will help improve your health. It is advisable to build small yet meaningful habits. These things do not have to take up a lot of time from each day, but in the long run, they will add up to become something impactful. Enforcing habits is also something sustainable for your recovery since you will have to do these every single day.
How To Set Smaller Goals
Recovery goals can come in two types: smaller goals that are achievable in a short period of time and bigger goals that may take months to attain. Here is a guideline on how to set smaller goals.
· Make it specific. What are you trying to achieve? What are the steps needed to achieve these goals?
· Make it measurable. Is there a way to quantify your progress? How will you measure your progress?
· Make it achievable. Do you have the resources you need in order to achieve these goals? Are you someone who is perfectly capable and able of meeting these goals?
· Make it relevant. Are these goals supportive of your primary goal of staying sober? How do these goals improve your chances of staying sober?
· Set a timeframe. How long do you think it would take for you to achieve these goals? Make sure to establish a reasonable deadline for yourself so that you will have more of a driving force to accomplish it on time.
How To Hold Yourself Accountable
Now that you have outlined your addiction recovery goals, it is time to establish an accountability system. This ensures that you are staying on the right track and that you are working on achieving these goals every single day. The absence of an accountability system may make it challenging for you to garner progress. If left unattended, your goals will just be another list that you will eventually forget about, which then makes it easier for you to slip back to your old ways. Here is a guideline on how to hold yourself accountable.
· Create a list
Write down your addiction recovery goals. The mere act of writing them down makes them more real and permanent in your life. It also helps to classify them as short-term or long-term goals so that you can plan for them accordingly. Keep the list somewhere you can easily see or access, such as your journal or even your phone.
· Set deadlines
Once you have your list and have outlined timeframes for each, set the deadlines. Place these events in your phone calendar and sync them with the rest of your gadgets. Set reminders for the upcoming dates so that you will be reminded.
· Find a support system
These goals will be easier to achieve if you have a friend to work with. Find someone with the same goals and keep each other accountable. This could be someone you met in rehab or in 12-step sessions. You may talk to each other about any hurdles and find ways to overcome these.
· Tell your friends and family
Present your list of goals to your friends and family. This serves two purposes: firstly, they will be made aware so that they could support you better, and secondly, they may serve as an accountability system. They may nudge you if they feel like you are doing activities that will place you a few steps behind your goals. These people will serve as your support system and cheer you on so that you can achieve your addiction recovery goals for this year.
· Be flexible
Some setbacks might be inevitable. Understand that healing isn’t always linear. There may be days when you’ll find it too hard to drag yourself out of bed and uphold the healthy habits you have set for yourself. When this happens, it is important to be flexible and remember that it is part of the process. Simply set the date a few days further so that you’ll get more time to achieve them. Try again and do not give up. When you are not flexible, you might be tempted to beat yourself up, which will make you feel like a failure, which then causes stress, amplify your negative emotions, and ultimately lead to a relapse.
We at R&R Recovery fully support your path towards sustainable recovery. Let us take this new year as an opportunity to start fresh. Contact us for assistance on outlining your addiction recovery goals for 2022 as well as crafting ways to reach them.