Recovery is your chance to build the life you’ve always wanted. Goal-setting is an important part of this process, but you may need to adjust your approach in light of the coronavirus pandemic. In this post, we share some tips to help you create effective recovery goals that will keep you moving forward despite the evolving COVID-19 situation.
Setting Goals: Focus on What You Can Control
Part of what makes the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic so frustrating is that much of what’s going on is beyond your control. You can’t control if the governor will close businesses or schools, if your employer will need to make serious budget cuts, or if events you’ve been looking forward to are canceled due to increased infection rates. You can’t make others take safety precautions, and you can’t speed up the process of getting a vaccine to market.
In times of great uncertainty, you can reclaim a sense of normalcy by setting goals that focus on what’s within your control. For example:
- Stay physically active at home by following along with free workouts on YouTube
- Get outside whenever the weather permits to enjoy the fresh air
- Improve your skills in the kitchen by trying new recipes
- Pursue a hobby or special interest you’ve always wanted to try
Prioritize Short-Term Goals
When the future is uncertain, it’s hard to make long-term plans. Instead of worrying about what’s going to happen in a year or two, focus on short-term goals that help you continue the healthy habits you learned in residential treatment.
If you need to, break your short-term goals down into daily or weekly milestones. For example, if you’re working towards your green chip in AA for 90 days of sobriety, your daily goals might be to attend a meeting, check-in with your sponsor or therapist, and document your progress by writing in your journal every evening. If you’re a bit more established in your sobriety and you’re trying to get your finances in order, you might choose to open a savings account and follow a plan where you increase your savings by $1 per week by gradually making changes to your budget. After a full year, you’d have $1,378 saved. Or, if you want to run a 5K, you might gradually increase your fitness level with the popular couch to 5K training program.
Flexibility is important in times of uncertainty, so it’s helpful to have a “plan B” for your goals whenever possible. For example, if you want to work on improving your relationship with your spouse, setting a goal of eating dinner together every night might not be practical if your spouse works in healthcare or a position with a similarly unpredictable schedule. It might be better to have a goal of taking the time to talk about your day for 15 minutes since this can be accomplished with either dinner conversation or a phone call.
Rigid expectations can leave you feeling like a failure even when you’re making steady progress. Choose goals that set you up for success by leaving you more than one way to achieve the desired result.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Change is never easy—especially when you’re making the types of major life changes that are necessary to build a lasting recovery. Be patient with yourself, and don’t get discouraged by setbacks.
If you make a mistake, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to fail. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a television news anchor, and J.K Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before finding someone willing to take a chance on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Take a deep breath, dust yourself off, and try again.
If you’ve had a slip or relapse, give us a call. At Mountain Laurel Recovery Center, we believe recovery is possible for anyone who is committed to building a sober life. At our Pennsylvania drug and alcohol addiction recovery program, we provide the resources and support you need to find a way to move forward regardless of the challenges you’re facing.