Crafting Your Path: The Art of SMART Goal Setting in Recovery
Recovery is a journey of personal transformation, requiring clarity, vision, and a plan of action. It's about more than just breaking free from addictive behaviors; it's about creating a life of fulfillment, purpose, and wellness. In this journey, setting precise and well-thought-out goals is crucial. SMART Recovery's Goal Setting tool is here to guide that process. Though "SMART" in SMART Recovery stands for "Self-Management and Recovery Training," the SMART in SMART Goal Setting represents a distinct, yet complementary, set of principles.
Decoding SMART Goals
In SMART Goal Setting, SMART embodies five key characteristics of effective goals: Specific, Measurable, Agreeable, Realistic, and Time-bound. These attributes ensure your goals are clear, attainable, and aligned with your recovery path.
Specificity in goal setting involves clearly defining what you aim to achieve. Broad goals like "I want to feel happier" are a start, but they lack the detail necessary to guide actionable steps. A more specific goal might be, "I will engage in a hobby I enjoy for at least an hour three times a week."
A goal is measurable when you can objectively assess whether it's been met. This often involves quantifiable metrics, like frequency, amounts, or durations. For example, "I will attend two support meetings per week" is a measurable goal.
Your goals should be agreeable, meaning they resonate with your inner values, desires, and personal recovery commitments. They should be goals you are willing and intending to pursue, ensuring they're aligned with your personal vision for your life and recovery.
Realistic goals are those within the realm of possibility. They stretch you beyond your comfort zone but still remain achievable based on your current resources, circumstances, and commitments. An unrealistic goal sets you up for failure, while a realistic goal fosters motivation and progress.
Goals need a deadline or time frame. Whether it's a daily goal like "I will practice mindfulness after breakfast every day" or a long-term goal like "I will complete a recovery workbook within three months," time constraints create urgency and promote accountability.
The Transformative Power of SMART Goals in Recovery
SMART goals are more than items on a to-do list; they're signposts on your recovery journey — clear, personalized markers of your commitment to growth and healing. They provide direction and structure, creating a framework within which you can work, celebrate progress, and realign when necessary.
Conclusion: Your Goals, Your Guideposts
The path to recovery is seldom straight, often filled with twists, turns, and unexpected detours. However, with SMART goals, you have a reliable compass to guide your way. These aren't arbitrary destinations but carefully crafted guideposts, each one reflecting your courage to envision a brighter future. Remember, while SMART Recovery empowers you with tools and community support, SMART goals illuminate your personal path to healing and self-discovery.
The ABC Model is a good way of understanding how we can help change our feelings and behaviour by challenging our thinking.
When to Use This Tool
The ABC Model is a good way of understanding how we can help change our feelings and behaviour by challenging our thinking. It helps us uncover beliefs that are not helping us /contributing to the behaviour we are trying to change.
This exercise may be done in the group setting but can also be very useful for participants to look at between meetings.
How To Use This Tool
When working with urges: To analyze a lapse/relapse or to develop coping statements for an anticipated lapse/relapse.
In the event of a lapse, the question to ask is not “What made me do that”, but rather, “How did I talk myself into it?” It is not the urge (A) that causes the lapse (C). It is our beliefs (B); our irrational self-talk.
With emotional upset:
The ABC Model can also be used to work with emotional upset or frustrations that may occur at any point in the recovery journey. The ABCs allow us to discover our unhelpful beliefs which contribute to emotional upsets. Disputing helps us eliminate our irrational thinking so we can both feel better and do better. In SMART Recovery we teach that we feel the way we think; it’s not unpleasant events that disturb us, it’s the way we think of them. By changing our thinking, we change how we feel.
Identifying and Disputing Unhelpful Thinking.
Disputing is a process of challenging the way we think about situations. It’s about trying to look at thoughts more accurately. Disputing unhelpful thinking can help us make more informed decisions about thoughts instead of just acting on them. Balanced thinking leads to effective new beliefs.