Goal-setting is an important part of the recovery process, but you may need to reevaluate your goals in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Goals that may have been reasonable under normal circumstances may end up being difficult to accomplish due to pandemic-related changes.
Choose SMART Goals
A common mistake people make when setting goals is making them too vague or too ambitious to be reasonable.
The acronym SMART is often used to promote effective goal-setting in recovery.
Let’s say exercise has been helpful in getting your cravings under control and you want to work on improving your physical fitness. Your SMART goal might be to run one mile each night after dinner for the next two weeks or to complete one 30-minute YouTube workout video Monday through Friday for the next month. These are COVID-19 appropriate goals because they’re easy to do while social distancing and don’t rely on the gym being open for business.
Another example of SMART goal-setting would be strengthening your relationship with your family. “Be a close family” is too broad of a goal to be helpful, but a SMART goal of eating dinner together at home at least three nights per week or planning a regular weekend game night is an attainable and realistic way to move towards strengthening your relationship.
Take It One Day at a Time
Normally, it’s great to have a mix of short-term and long-term goals. However, with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic creating such global uncertainty, it can be hard to predict what the future may hold. Plans can be canceled, and projects can be delayed due to factors that are completely beyond your control.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, keep your focus on making the most of each day. Practicing the healthy habits you learned in residential addiction treatment, including good nutrition, regular exercise, stress-relieving hobbies, and making time for sufficient sleep, will help you more effectively manage your cravings while boosting your immune system.
Even if it feels like you’re not moving along as fast as you’d like, every day that you’re successfully sober brings you closer to living the life you deserve. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished despite the difficult circumstances.
Work on Developing New Skills
Goals related to self-improvement are well-suited to times of uncertainty. “Get a job” may be a difficult goal to accomplish right now if your work experience is in an industry that has been heavily affected by COVID-19. Regardless of your qualifications, you may find that there just aren’t any openings available. However, you can still work on improving your resume, reading books about your industry, or taking online classes to develop skills that could lead to more career opportunities in the future.
Learning new skills boosts your self-esteem—giving you the confidence you need to continue moving forward in your recovery. Set aside a few hours per week to pursue an area of professional or personal interest, and you’ll be amazed by how much you can learn.
Strengthen Your Support System
With social distancing restrictions in place, it requires consistent effort to stay in touch with family and friends. However, a strong support system has been shown to be a vital part of the recovery process.
Goals are easier to achieve when you have people on your team who will hold you accountable for the progress you’ve made. Ask a friend or family member you trust to check in with you at set intervals so you can talk about what you’ve done and what you still need to accomplish. If you’re attending 12-Step meetings regularly, your sponsor can be an additional source of accountability and support.
Be Patient with Yourself
Life in recovery is full of challenges. Since addiction is a chronic illness, relapse is often part of the recovery process. COVID-19 can create additional risk due to pandemic-related stress.
If you slip up, don’t assume that this means recovery isn’t possible. Often, you simply need to try a different treatment approach. Talk to your treatment team about what happened and work together to brainstorm strategies that can help you find the most effective way to move forward.
We Can Help
At Waypoint Recovery Center, we believe there’s always hope for recovery. Our South Carolina residential addiction treatment center provides a full continuum of care, including personalized options for moving forward after relapse. If you’re committed to changing your life for the better, we can help.