New Years is a great example. I don't know what it is about the magic of midnight but every year we tell ourselves "I'm going to make this change", "This year will be different". It starts of strong but we all know what can happen. We only have a vague idea of what our goal is and we don't have a plan on how to achieve it. In recovery, planning is key. SMART goals are great for doing this. What are SMART goals? SMART is an acronym for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
Specific goals have a greater chance of being accomplished over a general goal. State the goal in as much detail as possible so you know exactly what is expected. What will you do and how?
I will begin attending support groups in my town starting Monday. I will attend the groups held at my local community center down the road from my house in the evenings.
Establish a criteria for meeting that goal. This way you, along with your support system, will know if you are meeting your goal. If you are consistently not meeting it, maybe it is time to make changes.
I will attend 3 meetings per week occurring every Monday, Thursday and Saturday evenings after work.
Don't set yourself up for failure. It needs to be realistic.
3 meetings per week still allow me to have a balanced schedule and I have arranged transportation.
Is this something you can accomplish, or do you need to adjust your expectations? You can always raise the bar as you go, so don't set it so high that you feel defeated at the start.
I have adequate time those evening and am able to meet my other commitments as well.
When will this goal start? Don't keep putting it off and telling yourself you will do it next week or next month. Start now.
I will begin this on Monday evening.
With SMART goals it is easier to get started and, if you follow the criteria, it can make these goals seem more manageable. It's not a foolproof system but it will definitely get you on the right track. Share these goals with those in your support system so that they can assist you too.
Mariah, Lead Intake Counsellor