Exploring Your Motivation: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Exploring Your Motivation: What Works and What Doesn’t?In order to have a successful long term recovery, it is vital that you understand how to motivate yourself. This is in large part a matter of trial and error, but applying certain concepts and activities to your self discovery process will allow you to gain a greater awareness of what is motivating for you and what is ineffective.

Try Using SMART Goals

One method that is very effective for many people from a motivational perspective is to create targeted goals that can be clearly identified, and for which you know when you have accomplished them. This type of goal setting is called SMART goals, and is seen in a variety of industries ranging from education to addiction recovery. A good goal follows the SMART pattern:

  • Specific: A goal should address who, what, when, where, which and why. If it does not, it is a hope, not a goal.
  • Measurable: This type of goal allows a person to establish concrete criteria for measuring progress against it.
  • Attainable: An attainable goal is as much about self-image as anything else. An individual must believe he or she can reach the goal.
  • Realistic: A goal must be grounded in reality. As a simple example, an obese man who never exercises should not set a six-week goal to run in a marathon.
  • Time-bound: A goal without a deadline is a dream.

One additional component to add to SMART goals is to start with small goals. Do not set as your first goal to stay clean for three years. Instead, choose three days. If necessary, choose nine hours. Select a SMART goal that you can reach without stressing out or overextending yourself too much. Seeing that you can accomplish a goal, no matter how simple, can build the motivation and momentum you need to keep going.

If SMART goals don’t work for you, don’t feel like you have to use them. Each person is motivated by different things. There is no shame in stopping something that is ineffective. The goal is sober living, and you should only invest your time and energy in practices that help you toward that goal.

Try Using Accountability

Another consideration is to be wide open and vulnerable with everyone you come across about your journey. In the same way that some people find motivation to stay on a diet by telling everyone that weight loss is the goal, you may find that broadcasting your decision to step into recovery could be the difference between success and failure.

However, many can be intimidated by this choice, for the very real reason that it opens a person up to criticism. Another less drastic consideration is to open up to a select trusted few. Your friends and family are all rooting for your recovery. If you hit a tough spot, most would be happy to take a call from you in order to provide support and encouragement.

You also have counselors and staff members who are also there to give you support. Each member of the staff in any recovery program is highly trained to provide relevant assistance in the midst of dark times. Beyond training, they have experienced aiding others as they go through this recovery process. And furthermore, many are recovering addicts themselves. The team surrounding you at your treatment program is an invaluable resource.

Focus Internally via Mindfulness

Others find that focusing intently on their inner world is the key to motivation. Though this is still largely unexamined, some believe a nonjudgmental mindset toward life is a good indicator that mindfulness will be a method that is helpful for an individual.

Mindfulness can be vital to sustaining recovery. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, and dwelling deeply in that awareness, can open the path to sobriety. Mindfulness will help you learn to tell a different story about yourself and your future. As you gain understanding of yourself, you can avoid dangerous temptations and learn instead to dwell on your strengths.

Sober Living is a Lifelong Commitment

Often rehab is viewed as an event, but this perspective is dangerous and inaccurate. An addict never becomes free of the pull to reengage with his drug of choice. Rather, he must make choices, often on a daily basis even years after his last use, to stay sober. Having the variety of resources mentioned above is vital to maintaining sobriety.

Perhaps the best motivation is to remember what is at stake. The bottom line is this: addiction and abuse are very dangerous, and could endanger the lives of people you know and love. Sobriety is too important to relapse over a weak moment.

The risks and the costs of addiction are too high. If you are reading this and recognize addiction as a struggle in your life, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way.