The New Year is upon us, and with the dawning of that New Year comes the making of New Years resolutions. It has become a yearly ritual to set goals for the next 12 months that will improve our lives and get us to a better place. While intentions are good, many of these goals and resolutions are often abandoned as quickly as they are made. Once those goals are forgotten, the people who make them often spend the next year contemplating what made have been and they stay stuck.

Why Is Goal Setting So Hard?

While most people claim to understand the importance of setting goals in order to achieve greater things in their life, not many people follow through–and those who do set goals may not grasp the basics.  It is estimated that 80% of Americans never set any type of goals for themselves, and of the 20 percent that do, 70% of those people fail to achieve those goals. What makes the art of goal setting so hard to comprehend and achieve?

More often than not, many people don’t understand that goal setting is a process and not something that is done on a whim. Even if someone takes the time to follow the process through, they may have an overwhelming fear of failure or have a tendency to overanalyze each detail and they end up sabotaging their efforts. If you are new in recovery or have some substantial clean time, successful goal setting is crucial in keeping your recovery and your life on track.

Essential Steps On Effective Goal Setting

setting goals

As stated previously, effective goal setting is a process which takes considerable thought and follow-through. The following are the important steps that you need to take in order to make the goals you set stick for the long-term.

Keep Your Goals Specific

First and foremost, the goals that you set need to be straightforward and  should emphasize what you want to happen. By focusing on specifics, it helps you  to focus your efforts and clearly define what you are going to do. When you start setting a goal, you should be able to know what you are going do, how you are going to do it and why the goal is important to you.

Your Goals Should Be Measurable

Successful goal setting also is dependent on making your goals measurable in the sense of being able to see progress. If your goal isn’t measurable, it will never be attainable. Instead of saying “I want to master French” you should be saying “I will master the basics of conversing in French this year”. You need to establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you are able to consistently measure your progress, you will stay on track and you will have a better chance to reach your goals.

Make Your Goals Attainable

Another important step in the process of successful goal setting is to make your goals attainable. Goals that are too far out of reach will have little or no chance to be made. Ideally, you want to set a goal which will stretch you somewhat as far as your effort and set landmarks. Once you reach those landmarks and continue to put the effort in, you will stay motivated to keep working towards the overall goal.

Your Goals Should Be Realistic

In order to successfully reach your goals, they must be doable. What this means is that you have the tools available to attain those goals and what you are planning to do to achieve those goals will push your skills and determination but will not be beyond your reach. There is a fine line between making your goals too easy or too hard and there may be some trial and error along the way. If you stumble during any part of the goal setting or achieving process, simply find what went wrong, modify your plans and continue.

Your Goals Should Be Timely

Perhaps the most important aspect of effective goal setting is placing a particular timeframe on which you hope to achieve your goal. Whether it is by next week, three months from now or a year from now setting an end point will give you a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a specific time frame or leave it open-ended, there is no motivation or commitment to work towards the goal that you have set.

Setting Goals is An Important Part of Your Recovery

If your goal is to find a drug treatment program that will help you get your life back on track, Guardian Recovery Network can help. We offer a wide variety of drug treatment programs that can be individualized to meet your specific recovery needs. Make it your goal today to call Guardian Recovery Network.


Reviewed for accuracy by:

Anna earned her Masters of Social Work at Barry University in Miami, FL in 2017 and completed her internship in co-occurring disorders. Anna has a Bachelors of Art in Religious Studies from Naropa University and is a certified yoga and meditation instructor. Anna has received specialized training in somatic counseling with an emphasis on body-centered psychotherapy.