We worked on life skills Wednesday night. Just how do we go about setting goals that we can, and want to, attain? How can we leverage goal-setting to inspire motivation and confidence? Are there any goals too big? Too small? Where should we start this process – especially for those of us in early recovery?

First of all, we identified a strategy – the “Small Wins” approach described in the book Rebalancing the Addictive Mind: Beating Addiction with Exercise and Nutrition.

“Small Wins” is the overall strategy. This approach sets the foundation for accomplishment! With Small Wins, we strive for one or more positive actions or achievements each day. These smaller “wins” set the stage for the future – for the larger and more challenging objectives we may set for ourselves eventually. We get used to succeeding, and this builds a positive feedback loop encouraging confidence and self-esteem. We discussed the importance of social support helping us to reinforce our goals.

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Tactically, we approach the goals with the SMART methodology. Specific, Measurable, Attainable/Achievable, Reasonable/Relevant, and Time-Framed. In our goal-setting exercise, we carefully avoided the kind of distorted thinking that may put too much pressure on us and create a sense of being overwhelmed. Yup! Taking “should”, “must”, “need to” and “have to” from that goal-setting vocabulary. Instead, we set our goals with an acceptance of where we are today, self-honesty, and optimism about the future. We look at ourselves in the mirror – and compare-in. We start where we are, and we move forward from there. One step at a time. One day at a time.