One of the advantages to being sober is that the individual is able to set themselves desirable goals and then achieve these. This ability to make dreams a reality is not possible when people are caught in addiction. This is because they will be too focused on alcohol and drugs, and this addiction will thwart any attempts to improve their situation. The addict is caught in a downward spiral, and there is not much they can do to change this unless they stop their descent by entering recovery. Once the individual is sober they can then begin setting goals and achieving these. The person can then begin to live the type of life that they always dreamed of.
The best way to think about goal setting would be to say that it is a way be which the individual determines what they want to achieve and then devise a plan for achieving this. Setting a goal with no idea of how to get to it is not such an effective solution. It means that the individual will just be setting themselves up for disappointment. In order to make these goals a reality in recovery the individual not only has to decide on what they achieve but also the means to achieve it. This usually involves breaking the process down into steps and focusing on one step at a time.
There are important benefits to getting things done in recovery including:
* It increased the individuals self esteem and self efficacy. Once the individual has experience of achieving things it gives them the confidence to keep on achieving things.
* If the goal is a positive one it will improve the person’s life.
* It will strengthen the person’s recovery. The more successful the individual is in their sobriety the more reasons they will have to cherish it.
* Getting things done can be one of the great joys of life. There can be a real sense of accomplishment when people look back to see how they have turned their ideas into reality.
* It should mean that the person has a more optimistic attitude towards life.
* It can be vital in order to prevent relapse. If the individual fails to do the things they need to do to stay sober it will put their recovery at risk.
The number one goal for people in recovery has to be that they stay sober. They should never allow anything to get in the way of this, and they should not take any action that would put their sobriety in jeopardy. This is because once the individual returns to alcohol or drugs they will lose everything anyway. If the individual is unable to stay sober they will not be able to achieve any of their goals so maintaining this will always be the most important thing. The person should not pursue any goal that would involve a process in which their sobriety would be at risk. For example, those who are in early recovery would be advised against making any major life changes because this could lead to them having to put up with an excessive amount of stress.
There are things that can get in the way of people getting things done in recovery including:
* Procrastination is probably the largest obstacle when it comes to getting things done in recovery.
* Failure to establish feasible steps to reaching the goal. With a plan for how to achieve it the goal will always remain in the distance.
* Setting goals that are overly ambitious. This means that they individual is unable to take the required steps needed to make it happen.
* The individual has poor time management skills and this means that they never have enough time to focus on achieving their goal.
* Some people are demand resistant, and this means that they will sabotage their own efforts. Their natural instinct is to rebel against any type of demand or expectation – including their own expectations.
* If the individual is not really that interested in achieving the goal they are unlikely to put sufficient effort into it. This often happens when the person sets a goal that they feel they should want rather than actually wanting it.
Procrastination is the opposite of getting things done. It refers to as the act of replacing high priority actions with tasks of lower priority. This means that instead of the individual taking the actions they need to in order to achieve their goal they focus on something less important instead. This will often mean focusing on enjoyable activities and putting off those things that require a bit more effort. Procrastination is lethal to getting things done because it means that the individual will keep on putting things off. They will always find something more entertaining to do that the work they need to do.
There are a number of reasons for why people procrastinate in recovery including:
* Some people hold onto the idea that they are better at achieving tasks when they leave it until the last minute – they seem to thrive under a deadline. This belief is often mistaken as it means sloppy work and unfinished tasks.
* The individual who is demand resistant will keep on delaying action because they feel the need to rebel against the expectation that has been put on them.
* Those individuals who are overly dependent on other people will try to blame them for the procrastination. This person is waiting for somebody else to come along, take their hand, and guide them through the work.
* If the goal is not really something that the individual wants they will procrastinate.
* The person might trivialize the task so that it does not seem that important to do the work.
* They might underestimate the work involved in achieving the task so that they feel there is no need to rush to get things done.
* Some individuals spend too much time in the planning stage and not enough time in the doing stage. Planning is good but some people can use it as an excuse to avoid doing the work needed to achieve the goal.
Those people who are demand resistant have an unconscious chronic negative response to demands, real or perceived, internal or external. This means that the individual rebels against any expectations put upon them – even if these expectations are there on. It is believed that demand resistance occurs in childhood as a response to parents who are overlay demanding. The child realizes that they could never live up to their parents expectations so they deal with this by rebelling against them. This because a habit and the behavior is then carried on into adulthood where the individual unconsciously rebels against any type of demand put upon them. Demand resistance can be a real stumbling block for people in recovery, but it can be overcome once the individual realizes what is going on.
Here are a few suggestions for how people can get things done in recovery:
* It is suggested that people create clear steps to achieving their goal and set a time frame for each step. If things are clear like this there is less justification for procrastination.
* To do lists can be a great tool for ensuring that things get done in recovery. The individual will have a list of tasks they wish to accomplish each day, and they can cross these off as they become accomplished.
* It is important that people develop good time management skills. This will help ensure that they get the most out of their time – this is important because time is a scarce and precious commodity.
* Those people who are naturally demand resistant need to be aware of this tendency. They can then take deliberate action to overcome this negative habit.
* It is probably best that people remove the word should from their dictionary and replace it with want to. When people feel like they should do something it already sounds like hard work and they are likely to procrastinate.
* When setting goals the individual needs to ensure that these are feasible and have worked out clear steps for how it can be achieved. Those individuals who become sober can achieve amazing things but setting the bar too high in the beginning can lead to disappointment.
* In early recovery it is probably best to set smaller goals. That way the individual will build their confidence so that later they are better prepared with dealing with more formidable challenges.
* It is easier to achieve large goals if they are broken down into smaller ones. This way the individual will benefit from increasing motivation as they achieve each target along the way to their overall goal.
* It can be helpful if people do a review at the end of their day. This is not meant to make them feel bad but just to judge their success at getting things done that day – if they did not do very well it may encourage them to do better the next day.
* Keeping a daily journal can be a useful tool for keeping track of goals and the progress that people are making when trying to achieve these goals.