How Small Steps Make Big Changes During Recovery

Going through the process of addiction treatment is like climbing Mont Everest. It seems impossible, it can feel like you’ll suffocate from time to time and just go back to the muddy old place where the sun doesn’t shine. However, if you put one leg in front of another despite it being challenging, you’ll eventually feel and be on top of the world. It’s true that small steps make big changes during recovery, and today, our experts at addiction treatment centers in West Virginia tell you just how.

Setting achievable goals during recovery

So, what does taking small steps actually mean? A small step in this context is an achievable goal you set and achieve. There is no limit or rule for how exactly small each step should be. Everything is individual, and everything depends on you.

As in every change, your personal traits and circumstances determine the course of the whole process. For example, the weight loss path of persons that weigh 200lbs and 500lbs will be much different. In the same manner, a person that is addicted to heroin and a person that was an alcoholic for 40 years have a much different rehabilitation path. People in rehab for veterans respond much differently than teenagers to therapy.

A man walking on a pier covered in water wondering how small steps make big changes during recovery
Remember – no one has the same journey as you. You pick how small or big your next step will be.

There will be enough time to dream big later

When it comes to this vicious disease of body and mind, the major mistake our experts from rehab centers in Parkersburg WV point out is making too big of a goal. Of course, every person that’s struggling with addiction imagines themselves ten years from now with a shiny ‘ten-year sober’ badge. Making origami with their children or traveling around the world with someone special – breathing the world in and living to the fullest.

But, as any ‘ten-year sober’ badge carrier from our rehab near Huntington WV can tell you – that is the easy part. The hardest part is getting that ‘one day sober’, a ‘week sober’, and a ‘month sober’ badge. And that’s how you should treat it. This is why small steps make big changes during recovery.

Of course, it can be quite motivational to daydream about all those beautiful moments in the future. But, right now, it’s more important to put all your focus and efforts into getting through each craving, each crisis, and every obstacle at the time.

Why is setting goals important in recovery?

However, all of this doesn’t mean that you should just ‘go with the flow’ and see where it takes you. Quite the opposite! When you have a daily objective to strive toward in recovery, you are more likely to stay motivated. It helps in understanding the recovery process and determining whether or not you are making progress. And this is extremely important, as a deeper understanding of the matter helps you battle that fear of the unknown that might slow you down.

Many individuals avoid setting goals altogether or taking a methodical approach to doing so, despite the fact that experts insist doing so is beneficial. Do you have aspirations, plans, and goals, but you never put them down on paper? There are several reasons why it’s important to use goal-setting methods when in recovery.

A person writing down their plans
Small steps make big changes during recovery – writing your goals down can be a good first small but huge step in the right direction.

You’ll know your values better

Recognizing your motivation for sobriety will help you avoid temptation and keep your focus on your recovery. It will make the picture clearer when the times get blurry (and they will, pretty often). Having strong values and motives to keep going is a game-changer.

You’ll boost your confidence

Increase your self-assurance by realizing that you are always striving toward and achieving your goals, even if you don’t keep track of them. Yet, if they are not concrete and quantifiable, it will be difficult to determine success. Setting specific, attainable objectives makes tracking progress much simpler. As you reach a milestone along the way, it reinforces your belief in your own abilities and motivates you to keep going.

You’ll learn to observe your own behavior

Objectives change over time. When you figure out what works best for you, you may need to make some adjustments. The process of defining and re-evaluating objectives in recovery is valuable in and of itself, regardless of whether or not you really accomplish any of them. It’s important to keep track of your behavior. With time, you’ll learn to embrace your flaws and capitalize on your talents.

What is the goal of recovery?

Objectives and target goals aren’t only about the end result. This is especially true for goals of recovery. By consciously choosing to do so, setting objectives helps in:

  • cognitive restructuring
  • habit formation
  • the production of desired results

So, the ultimate goal is to put all those pieces together and form a strong and durable psychological unit – a person that will be a functional and happy individual long after therapy. Also, the prevention of relapses is one of the most important goals of any treatment of this kind. One common thing with these goals is that you can only achieve them if you take a good grip on other, smaller parts of the process of rehabilitation.

Letters organized to say 'focus on your goals'
Focusing on small goals can make the biggest difference in achieving big ones.

Aims for performance

Obtaining certain metrics is critical to achieving performance targets. The chips you collect at AA and NA events are a great example of a well-defined performance objective. They honor your efforts to maintain sobriety throughout time periods of increasing length. Our programs at the rehab center near Cambridge OH showed that being valued and showing progress is essential to go through with the treatment for a longer period. In order to succeed in your process, it is necessary to set and complete a series of objectives.

The desired results

In recovery, the outcome goals are the long-term targets that may be attained by keeping the process and performance goals in place. Always remember that small steps make big changes during recovery. As an example, you want to update your CV. Your desired result is to find employment. But you can’t just take all those qualification programs at once – you won’t gain any knowledge valuable for the job you’re applying for. The same applies to addiction recovery. One of the great ways to get to desired results is going through the process of motivational interviewing for substance abuse with your therapist.

What small changes have a big impact on recovery?

Now, we’ve been talking a lot about these changes. But what exact actions and changes count on your journey to recovery? According to our experts at rehab centers near Morgantown WV, a good rule of thumb is to start with activities that will improve your overall health and mindset. You may not be able to stop wanting drugs or alcohol at the moment, but you can:

  • exercise
  • start eating healthy
  • improve your sleep
  • learn to embrace your other potential and passions
  • make a schedule and stick to it

Half an hour a day keeps the stress away

You might be wondering, are we going to start with all the mainstream advice ‘positive’ influencers keep repeating? How is exercise going to help when you’re going through hell every day? The thing is, the mechanism of addictions depend deeply on certain hormonal action.

Dopamine, serotonin, endorphins… these are all hormones important in experiencing happiness. They become imbalanced during addictions. However, as our experts from the rehab center near Athens OH suggest, exercising regularly brings balance to all those hormones. Plus, if you have an intensive workout, it will put your dopamine levels up to the roof – which means you won’t rely as much on the drug intake to make the same effect.

A person running at dusk
Only half an hour a day of activity can boost your motivation and chances for recovery.

Sleep deprivation can set you back

Another thing that we would like to highlight among these small steps is improving your sleep. In this time and age (and our hectic schedules), we have developed a culture of neglecting sleep. However, sleep is as vital as eating for our well-being. While you sleep, your neuronal structures and other tissues in your body repair with the help of melatonin – a hormone that you produce in large amounts when you sleep. So, stabilizing your sleep schedule might seem like a small step, but it’s actually one of the biggest ones.

How to set achievable goals and stick to them?

There are many great and easy ways to set achievable goals in order to stick to them longer. For starters, don’t leave your objectives open-ended. Instead, provide deadlines. This often leads to a “someday” mindset, which is not conducive to achieving one’s goals. Deadlines help us stay on track and get the most out of our goals. This has proven to be a great method for your patients at the rehab near Clarksburg WV. For example, if you decide to pursue your love for knitting, you should approach the process with a specific timeframe in mind. ”I will knit this sweater by the end of the month” is way better than ”I’ll start knitting it one day”.

Have a fluid mindset

If you find that you cannot achieve a goal, or if it becomes apparent that your aim is no longer feasible, you should adjust it. These objectives should be your focus. Have ownership over them. The road to recovery includes forming new, healthy routines, and as you progress, your objectives may shift. There are going to be things that you just can’t change. Timelines, specifications, and even whole objectives may need to be revised, but that’s all part of the road to recovery.

Even if a person you want to make up with isn’t interested in mending fences, you should still follow through with your plan to apologize and make contact. It’s possible to put this aim on wait or experiment with a new kind of connection. The key is to set new objectives, not to give up on the old ones. If you need help with this, you can opt for a combination of cognitive and behavioral therapy – REBT for addiction can be quite helpful.

An arrow as a metaphor for how small steps make big changes during recovery
You can’t always shoot a bull’s eye – but not taking a swing will not make you any points. Always keep in mind that small steps make big changes during recovery.

Make sure not to be and feel alone in this

While you work to define a path to healing, know that help is at hand. You may have access to a variety of services, such as support groups, family, friends, internet sources, and therapists. While looking for work, for instance (as many addicts struggle with finding a job), there are many helpful services available, including local unemployment offices and internet networking sites like LinkedIn.

You can’t win the race by yourself. Talk to someone about your plans as you formulate them. This person might be a relative, close friend, mentor, or sponsor. Include them in your accountability process and ask them to keep you on track. You’ll be more likely to follow through on your plans if you know they’ll be checking in with you to see whether you sent in those resumes or made that call.

How to handle setbacks?

One of the most important things is to recognize the possibility of temporary setbacks while you map out your long-term objectives. Keep in mind that encountering roadblocks is not a sign of failure. It is a sign that you are human. Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s normal to have some setbacks while you work toward your objectives. Yet just because you hit a snag on your way doesn’t make you a failure.

You don’t have to give up if you fail to do anything within the time frame you set. Leave opportunity for change and development in your approach. This is neither an endorsement of bad conduct nor an attempt to justify poor decision-making. Accepting imperfections and knowing it’s okay to fall short of expectations is a sign of maturity.

A person loving themselves after discovering that small steps make big changes in addiction recovery
Know that you are only human, and don’t let the fear of failure postpone your success.

Small steps make big changes during recovery – make the first step today

Now that you’re aware that small steps make big changes during recovery, we hope you’ll be encouraged to make them every day. When you put it all on paper, there are really no small steps, only a small mindset. And once you realize that and ditch the obstacles of your mind, you’ll be able not to step – but to fly on your way to harmony.

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