Goal Setting in Recovery

Old 09-04-2006, 08:21 PM
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Goal Setting in Recovery

How can personal goal setting be successful?
To be a successful goal setter for recovery from low self-esteem, you need to:

Be ready to change to a healthier, recovered lifestyle.

Be ready to accept the short-term pain, inconvenience, and deprivation to gain health, satisfaction, and high self-esteem.

Be ready to monitor and evaluate how successful you are in lifestyle changes.

Be ready to admit the real obstacles to achieving a changed lifestyle.

Be ready to give up old habits, old patterns of believing and acting to achieve the new lifestyle of recovery.

Be at a proper point of discouragement or dissatisfaction with your current lifestyle to motivate the necessary changes.

Recognize that your current lifestyle is so unhealthy that it could lead to illness, disability, or death.

Recognize that your current lifestyle is self-defeating, self-destructive, and passively suicidal.

Be honest with yourself as to why you are seeking this change.

Change your lifestyle for yourself only, not for anyone else.

Be open to all possibilities, alternatives, or solutions necessary to achieve a healthy lifestyle change.

Be willing to accept personal responsibility for all changes (no shifting responsibility to others).

Be convinced that your current lifestyle needs a major overhauling or change.

Be free to make the changes necessary (not feel constrained due to family, work, or social pressures).

Feel supported by your social support system.

Work on ridding yourself of the irrational beliefs that block your efforts to change.

Develop a rational belief system to support the desire for a healthy change.

Be honest in your assessment of how much needs to be changed.

Be realistic in assessing the amount of time it will take for the changes to be accomplished.

Be able to take long-term goals and break them down into short-term objectives with a greater likelihood of being accomplished in a short time.

Be patient, be able to take one day at a time, and celebrate success daily no matter how small.

How to set goals that will result in a lifestyle change
In order for successful goals to be set:

A personal confrontation must occur in which you admit that you can no longer use excuses, rationalizations, or lies to avoid the fact that your life is unhealthy.

You must admit that you need help to change your lifestyle.

You must realize that old habits and patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting must be altered radically.

You must be willing to do anything to rid yourself of your personal disgust.

A social support system must be developed for positive feedback.

You must recognize that personal motivation is the only attitude that will keep you in pursuit of the goals.

You cannot be dependent on others to keep motivated to change.

You must accept 100% of the responsibility for taking the necessary steps to change.

Kidding, fooling, fibbing, fabricating, storytelling, rationalizing, and lying must stop.

You must accept that "without pain there will be no gain.''

You must admit that a complete lifestyle change is necessary, which includes time management, restructuring, exercise, balanced diet, emotional control, and proper health practices.

You must accept that old beliefs and attitudes will be hard to break; lots of support and assistance will be required.

You must commit to a program of change and "recovery'' that will take a lot of time to complete.

Irrational and confused thinking which sabotages goal setting

It won't take me long to accomplish these changes.

I can do it on my own, and I don't need any social support group, teachers, or helpers to assist me.

All I need to do is to read this book to achieve the changes I need in my life.

All my problems will be gone once I change this behavior.

If I spend enough money, I'll be able to get somebody to do what I need to change my life.

I'm not in as bad a shape as I think I am.

Professionals are always out for money, and they only want me to change my lifestyle in order to make money off me.

I can change easily and I don't need to do all these other things as long as I'm willing to go to a counselor at regular intervals during my life.

I'm healthy. All I am is a little nervous. Why do I need this recovery lifestyle program?

I don't have time to be bothered with all of these things.

Why worry? I haven't gotten sick yet!

All of these changes are too much to do overnight. I'll put this off until I'm older, when the need to change is more important.

All of these people who are encouraging recovery and a balanced lifestyle are fanatics. They don't really enjoy life, do they?

My family will never put up with these changes in my life.

I'll do a little now and a little later on and eventually get to the rest of it after that.

All of this requires too much thinking, too much work and effort, and too much of me. Why aren't they helping me more? I pay them enough! They should be doing this for me!

It seems so big and impossible to achieve all these things for recovery.

I'm lost; where do I begin to change?

Tips for productive goal setting for achieving a recovery lifestyle

Set short-term goals that can be achieved on a weekly basis; you set yourself up for discouragement by setting only long-term goals.

Set goals at a realistic level of attainment, nothing unrealistic.

Set phasing-in goals, which are small increments of change accomplished over a period of time, until the complete change has been phased into existence; no overnight reformation.

Set a realistic time frame to account for the actual time needed to achieve target behavior changes.

Set goals that concentrate on behavior changes, not only on growth in self-esteem.

Set goals that you can live with; be honest with yourself.

Set goals that are you rather than somebody else; do not imitate other's goals.

Set only goals you want to achieve, nothing just to impress someone else.

Do not set yourself up for failure by overshooting the mark; avoid using absolute statements like "always'' or "never.''

Set up a system of evaluation to give you immediate feedback; use your support system.

Avoid goals that require other people to perform them; you must be your own agent of change in your life.

Coping.org James J. Messina, Ph.D. & Constance M. Messina, Ph.D
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