Goal setting projects, where people must perform given tasks and provide follow-up progress reports to other members of the same project, is common in many sectors of society. A similar principle is often used to help victims of emotional disorders. Members of rehabilitation groups set goals for securing their personal recovery and then monitor each other’s progress during subsequent meetings. It is a form of accountability for personal commitments.

Find your goal setting group

With our outreach we can help you with advice and finding suitable goal setting groups for behaviour and substance use disorders.

Goal setting in daily life

We all encounter demanding situations in life, such as school exams, sports activities, sales and production targets, holiday plans, et cetera. To prepare for the eventual success of big long-term goals, we set smaller interim goals, and usually other people demand regular updates about our progress. The prevalence of incremental goal setting and accountability in society is proof of its value.

Goal setting for recovery

When we encounter setbacks, we can use the same goal setting method that drives productivity in other areas of life to redeem ourselves. As part of this, there are now abundant facilities where victims of behaviour and substance use disorders are assisted with goal setting programs. Among these, are volunteer groups that have adopted it as a means to recover from emotion-related disorders.

Goal setting benefits

Goal setting strategies in group scenarios require the disclosure of sensitive information, but offer the benefits of the pooled experience and advice of other group members. It helps with shaping the personal recovery plans of individuals in the group. Accepting accountability by giving periodic feedback to groups during subsequent meetings further strengthens individual recovery processes.

Goal setting group principles

Some goal setting groups focus on very specific types of disorders for victims who prefer to mingle only with people who have exactly the same problem. However, groups of people with different disorders often share the same undercurrents and can effectively blend with each other. It is also possible to form specialist sub-groups within a larger group.

A popular method of goal setting is known as the “SMART” approach. It is an acronym for the words specifying the criteria, namely that goals must be “specific”, “measurable”, “attainable”, “relevant” and “time-bound” (have a deadline). Additional options include splitting big tasks into smaller steps and making adjustments when circumstances change.

With goal setting you first determine your most important goals. For example; your primary goals may be the restoration of relationships, health, finances, et cetera. You then sub-divide each one into smaller, more specific goals with timelines and the steps required to attain them. While drawing up the plan, you must identify obstacles that can keep you from performing tasks and include additional tasks to overcome them.

A good suggestion is to build a pattern of fixed routines, to make it easier to maintain discipline and stay on course. Most people prefer routine over sudden changes and this can help you to resist temptations to deviate. Another guideline is to reward yourself with a healthy treat for completing a task.

Goal setting programs require time and patience and this must be accepted in advance. It can be difficult for someone who is anxious, but most people overcome this by enlisting friends as sounding boards and helpers who share the journey with them and help them to destress.

Unforeseen factors can interfere with goals and demoralise an individual. Failure to achieve goals also creates temptation to provide dishonest feedback. Most group members understand this and their encouragement usually rekindles the person’s enthusiasm.

Call for goal setting advice

If you suspect you need help with a behaviour or substance use disorder, or if you are uncertain about the availability and locations of goal setting groups in your area, give us a call. We can help you with confidential, obligation-free advice, as well as referrals to suitable resources for your circumstances. Our contact information is available on this page.

Disclaimer: Media publications about health matters are intended for broad public audiences. Individuals are required to consult a suitably qualified health professional for personal health advice.