By Jennifer McDougall:
This is a significant time in your life. You’ve decided to get sober, but now you have to figure out what comes next. It’s normal to be overwhelmed at first. Still, soon you’ll start seeing things again and realize that there are many great opportunities in front of you.
One of those opportunities is setting goals for your recovery—and making sure those goals are realistic. The first 30 days after getting sober is a good time for setting these goals because it allows you to assess where you are and where you want to go. Here are some suggestions on how we can make sure our goals are reasonable:
The first 30 days of sobriety
Setting goals for the first 30 days of sobriety is essential to recovery. It helps you keep track of your progress, stay motivated and make progress toward a life free from alcohol and drugs.
To set practical goals during this time, it’s essential to focus on what you want out of your recovery. What do you want to achieve? Where do you want to be in six months? What will your life look like when all is said and done? Your answers should give some insight into what kinds of goals would be most beneficial for your recovery right now. For example: if one of your biggest desires is financial independence, then setting up a savings account and paying off any debt would be beneficial; while if another priority is rebuilding relationships with family members who were impacted by your addiction, then writing letters or calling them regularly could help build better communication skills.
Careers and financial goals
You’ll want to set career goals, including one that helps you work toward the career you love. You can also begin developing a financial plan and budget, ensuring you’re on track to pay off debt or save money for something special. Once your finances are in order, it’s time to start thinking about investing: developing a plan that includes using your extra funds to make more—or even creating an investment portfolio.
Finally, as you work toward these various goals, it’s essential to develop plans for meeting what expenses come up every day (and we all have them). For example, you might decide that one way of doing this is by setting aside money each month for specific items like rent or groceries.
Fitness goals are an essential part of a healthy recovery; they can help you feel better in many ways. They’re also great motivators to get moving and keep moving.
There are countless ways to set fitness goals: Some people choose new activities to try out. Others focus on improving their existing ones. Whatever your preference, here are some tips for setting practical fitness goals:
- Please make sure they’re realistic. If you’ve never climbed Mount Everest before, don’t expect yourself to conquer it this month. Instead, start small by walking around the block once a day or working up from there as needed until you build up enough stamina and endurance for when it’s time for something more advanced.
- Make sure they’re specific—and have a deadline attached if possible. When there’s an actual date attached, then not only do we know precisely when we need our goal accomplished but also how much time we have left which accomplish this goal by making sure that if anything goes wrong during our journey towards achieving whatever it is that sets us back from reaching those goals, then we can adjust accordingly early enough so that things won’t go too far off track before we even start progressing towards them.
Socializing and Making New Friends
If you are struggling to make new friends or feel like your old friends and family members don’t understand what you are going through, consider joining a sober support group.
This may seem scary at first, but it will help put you in touch with people who have gone through similar experiences as you. You will be able to share experiences and learn from each other.
Support groups can take many forms, and there are plenty of ways to meet new people who understand what addiction is like:
- Join a sober social club that meets at least once per week
- Get involved in sports such as softball or basketball, where everyone is in recovery
- Start a book club with others who have been through recovery
Mental Health Goals
- Practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique for improving your mental health and quality of life. It involves noticing the present moment without judgment or criticism and accepting things as they are.
- Getting therapy. Therapy helps you deal with your problems constructively, allowing you to talk about them out loud with someone trained in assisting people in dealing with their issues. This can be anything from family therapy to individual counseling sessions with a therapist, depending on what you need most at the time.
- Setting healthy boundaries with others (friends/family/co-workers). Setting healthy boundaries will help both parties focus on their goals rather than constantly worrying about each other’s lives (or maybe even being controlled by them).
- Get a degree that interests you.
- Get a new career.
- Get a new hobby.
- Learn something new every day.
Takeaway: What are the top goals you should set in addiction recovery? These six suggestions will help guide your journey.
- Avoid setting goals that are too big to achieve in a short amount of time.
- Make sure your goal is measurable, specific, and time-bound.
- Track your progress toward your goal through a journal and other means of tracking (e.g., an app).
- Celebrate small successes along the way, and build on those successes when setting new goals for yourself in recovery.
If you’re in the process of getting sober, don’t lose sight of the big picture. Your goals should align with your recovery plan and support it in every way possible. It can be tempting to focus too much on smaller milestones—like how many days you’ve been sober or how much money is saved—but this can sometimes leave out larger goals that would significantly impact your life. For example, if finances are an issue for you now but you don’t have any specific plans for how they might improve over time.
Also read: How to Find a Job After Rehab