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Setting goals
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Setting goals

When you are making a change to your alcohol or drug use, setting goals is important to help you stay on track.

If you would like some support establishing goals, chat to one of our friendly counsellors anytime. Our service is free, confidential and available 24/7. You can also chat to others with similar experiences on our forum.

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The S.M.A.R.T approach
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The S.M.A.R.T approach:

Setting yourself S.M.A.R.T goals can help you stay focused and motivated whilst making positive changes to your alcohol and drug use. Otherwise it can be hard to stay motivated if you have vague goals without a plan to achieve them. 

The S.M.A.R.T approach is a useful tool to help you plan how to achieve a realistic goal in a specific timeframe. When setting goals for yourself aim to make them:

S = Specific

"I'll pay off my credit card in 12 months. I want to get some money together" isn't specific enough.

A specific and helpful goal would be: "I won't use alcohol or drugs this weekend and will make a credit card payment this Friday with the money I would use on substances."

M = Measurable

Seeing your credit card balance decrease each month will help to keep you motivated. Make sure you set a goal that allows you to measure your progress.

A = Active

The best goals are those in which you play an active part. Getting someone else to do what you want them to do is not an achievable or realistic goal. An active goal, in this case, involves your response. For example, "For the next two weeks, whenever my partner gets angry I'll stay calm/leave the room/do something else, rather than get angry too and have an argument."

R = Realistic

Some of the best goals are personally challenging, but make sure that your goal is attainable and that you can achieve it, or can learn the skills you need to make it happen.

T = Time-limited

It's important to have a time frame for your goal so you can keep an eye on your progress and know when you've achieved it. It's hard to stay motivated when the end is nowhere in sight.

If you feel that your alcohol or drug use is harming your life, why not speak to one of our counsellors. It’s free, confidential and available 24/7.

If you would like to know a bit more about the service before getting in contact — take a look through Find support.

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What can I do next?
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What can I do next?