It is beneficial for people in recovery to set compelling goals for themselves. It can be counterproductive if people set goals for themselves that fit with other’s expectations of them. People may fulfill these objectives but fall short of realizing what they are actually capable of. Instead, it would be more effective if people set goals that drive and inspire them. These are compelling goals that they feel proud to be associated with and which raise their motivation when they think about having achieved them. Such goals fit one’s value and beliefs and hence they tend to be focused on them despite distractions being present around them. Success in recovery from addiction can be ensured if patients make maintaining their sobriety, the most captivating goal for themselves.
In general, it is better to divide the more ambitious recovery goals into smaller more manageable goals. In this manner, even the more challenging goals seems much more achievable. Accomplishing a smaller goal provides people a sense of motivation to keep on moving towards the next target. It is therefore more effective to construct goals on a daily to weekly basis. It is important for people to be flexible in reaching his or her goals.They should always be willing to make changes whenever it is necessary. For achieving the larger goal of sobriety, patients have to identify specific behavioral changes that they need to make along the way that would help them meet the desired outcome.
In the quest to achieve their objectives, people may encounter many obstacles. If the goals that people set for themselves during recovery are unrealistic or are inconsistent with their values, they may need to start over. This type of failure is not a particularly bad thing as long as the individual is putting in effort and gaining knowledge from the experience. The only true failures are experienced by those people who resort to give up trying. Mistakes committed by those who succeed in recovery, are looked upon by them as experiences that motivated them.
By Arman Ahmed, Clinical Psychologist