As you rebuild your life in the wake of addiction, you find yourself with the rare opportunity to start over again. Your clean slate allows you to make lasting changes, whether eating healthy food or getting into yoga. These new goals are exciting, but the challenge is sticking with them without losing motivation. The foundation of goal setting, which will be vital in recovery, is setting clear intentions. Without these clear intentions, you can find yourself feeling overwhelmed, lost, and out of steam.
Life after addiction will not be as simple as returning to the life you had before. You need to decide who you want to become and, most importantly, why. Setting goals is one thing, but it is easy to lose focus on the reasons you set out to live this life substance-free.
Understanding Your Motives
Intentions work as a tool. They give power to your actions. Recognizing your intentions can connect and ground yourself to your recovery process. To figure out your intentions, ask yourself questions like:
- What are my motives?
- Why am I choosing to stay sober?
- Why do I want to eat healthily?
- Why do I want to exercise?
- Why does this matter to me?
This is where you will want to do some soul searching. Being honest with yourself about your motivations can help you stay on track.
Focusing on what you should do won’t help you much in the long run because those reasons aren’t your own. Think about why you want to achieve these goals. Centering your reasoning on something that you care about will be more inspiring than something someone else wants.
The Difference Between Goals and Intentions
Setting goals is one thing, but setting intentions is another. Goals are things that you plan to do. Intentions are why you plan to accomplish those goals. You can’t have one without the other. Goals are concrete, and intentions are abstract. Still, they work off of one another. Without a goal, your abstract has no substance. You might have an intention to “live more positively,” which is a fantastic goal, but how do you achieve it? You also might have the goal to lose twenty pounds, but the issue here is why do you actually want to lose weight? If you do not have intentions behind your goals, you will have no reason to follow through.
Being Mindful About Your Intentions
Sometimes during recovery, people find themselves mindlessly going through the motions. There’s no meaning behind working out and getting healthy. You’re just making their bed each day because that’s what they tell you to do. These mindless actions can lead to burnout. You’ll find yourself asking, “What’s the point in all this? What’s it really doing for me?”
Being aware of why you are doing something gives purpose to your actions. You might make your bed every day because it gives you a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and you want to get out of bed in the morning because it makes you happy to see your family.
As an additional example, consider daily exercise. The purpose of exercising every day might be to stay healthier, but there’s more to that. You want to stay healthier so that you can be in your spouse’s life longer and see your children grow up. Having a purpose, being mindful, and knowing why you are doing something in the first place can keep you going.
Holding Yourself Accountable
When you’ve gotten a better grasp of why you want to do the things you want to do, write those intentions down. Keep them somewhere that you can easily access. If you find yourself losing motivation, refer back to that list.
Make sure you set clear intentions. It’s easy to write something vague, but it’s not easy to stay motivated by something that doesn’t resonate with you deeply. Be specific. Write them in the present tense. As you grow as a person, you might find that your old intentions no longer serve you. If you feel differently in the future, you can set new intentions later.
Sticking with intentions can be tricky, even if you’ve made them clear. Consider including intention setting as a part of your spiritual practice. Set intentions that you can achieve daily. Share your intentions with friends, family, and your sponsors so that they can check in on your intentions and goals and hold you accountable.
Sticking with intentions won’t happen overnight. If you’re new to setting intentions, some of the first ones might not resonate with you right away. If you experience a new setback with your routines, give yourself compassion. Reassess why you want to set those goals to become a better you and start again the next day. Being intentional gives your life authenticity. Instead of focusing on why you think you should accomplish these life-changing goals, you consider how you fit into the equation. These goals to live your life to the fullest can be for yourself when you realize what motivates you to keep going. Cornerstone Healing Center knows first hand about the difficult battle of achieving sobriety. Committing to be sober every day can be an arduous task, but understanding why you are here in the first place can help keep you on track. For more information about setting intentions for your life during recovery, contact us at (800) 643-2108.