Why SMART Goals Matter In Recovery

Recovering from addiction is a long process marked by different milestones. Setting goals can help people move from one stage of recovery to the next without getting lost in the process or stuck in a particular aspect of recovery. Creating goals can also help individuals stay motivated about their recovery. Accomplishing those goals can help boost individuals’ self-esteem.

The most effective goals are specific and provide a sense of direction, motivation, and focus. But most people don’t automatically write those kinds of goals on their own. The acronym SMART can help you write goals that are clear, specific, realistic, and achievable.

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym used to guide people to write effective goals. According to the acronym, goals should be:

  • Specific. Goals should be simple, sensible, and significant. They should be well defined and precise.
  • Measurable. Measuring progress toward the goals can make setting and accomplishing goals a meaningful and motivating process. Effective goals also have specific criteria individuals can use to measure their progress toward achieving the goal.
  • Achievable. Additionally, goals should be attainable. In short, goals shouldn’t be impossible to achieve or too idealistic.
  • Relevant. Individuals should also create reasonable and realistic goals within their reach and relevant to their life purpose.
  • Time-bound. The most effective goals have a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and target date to create a sense of urgency and motivation.

Examples and Questions To Consider When Creating SMART Goals

If individuals have never created a SMART goal before, they may not know how and where to begin. Fortunately, the process is pretty simple and mainly involves asking and considering various questions.

Creating Specific Goals

For example, individuals should ask the five “W” questions to create specific SMART goals. These questions can include:

  • Who is or will be involved in this goal?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Where is the goal going to be achieved?
  • When do I want to achieve this goal?
  • Why do I want to accomplish this goal?

Instead of simply creating a goal to “get in better shape,” a more specific goal could be “I want to start working out at my local community center gym three days a week to become healthier.”

Creating Measurable Goals

To create a measurable goal, individuals should ask themselves:

  • What are some indications of progress toward the goal?
  • How will I know if I have reached my goal?

Without this kind of criteria, many individuals lose track of their progress and never accomplish the goal they set.

Aiming to lose one pound of body fat every week is an example of a measurable goal.

Creating Achievable Goals

The achievability of a goal should stretch individuals and challenge them. At the same time, the goal should be defined well enough that individuals can achieve the desired result. Some good questions to help you consider the achievability of your goals include:

  • Do I have the resources and capabilities to achieve this goal? If not, what am I missing, and what do I need to have to achieve this result?
  • Have others been successful at accomplishing this goal?

Creating Realistic Goals

To ensure a goal is realistic, consider asking the following questions:

  • Is this goal realistic and within reach?
  • Is the goal reachable, given the time and resources?
  • Can I commit to achieving this goal?

Individuals need to make sure that the goal they have in mind can be achieved given the resources and time.

Creating Timely Goals

SMART goals are time-bound and have a definitive start and finish date. Some questions to consider when thinking about the timeliness of SMART goals include:

  • Does this goal have a deadline?
  • When do I want to achieve this goal?

Often, goals without a deadline appear less urgent, making individuals less motivated to achieve the goal.

Creating SMART goals can take considerable time, but doing so can be highly beneficial and rewarding.

The Benefits of Creating SMART Goals

Almost all goals come from a desire to be better, but SMART goals:

  • Measure progress. Measuring progress can be rewarding and increase individuals’ self-esteem. Feeling this way can help boost individuals’ moods and prevent relapse. Measuring progress while working towards a goal can also help you stay motivated.
  • Boost motivation. Staying motivated to accomplish a goal can be challenging. But when individuals create realistic goals relevant to their life purpose, they tend to stay motivated for more extended periods. Knowing that the goal is achievable and has a clearly defined finish date can help individuals stay motivated.
  • Combat Procrastination. Even though everyone battles with procrastination from time to time, having specific, achievable, measurable, and time-limited goals can help individuals realize the dangers of procrastination and wasting time.
  • Reveal what you want in life. Even though all goals originate from desire, SMART goals help individuals really take time to determine what they want in life. Individuals have to specifically think about who the goal involves, what is needed to achieve it, and how relevant it is to their future and overall life purpose. Thinking this way can help recovering individuals combat impulsivity and evaluate what they want out of life instead.

Why SMART Goals Matter In Addiction Recovery

SMART goals matter in addiction recovery because they help individuals think about the future rather than the current moment. In addition to that:

  • Being specific about goals encourages honesty, reflection, and clarity
  • Measurable goals encourage accountability and motivation
  • Achievable goals remind individuals to lean on community and their support network
  • Realistic goals encourage rational thinking and can help combat impulsive behavior
  • Time-focused goals help individuals remain disciplined

Today’s Goals Can Help Create A Better Future

Here at StoneRidge Centers, we believe that setting the right goals can help individuals create a better future for themselves. But the goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and defined by time. Our team can help individuals set and accomplish these kinds of goals. Contact us today to learn more about addiction recovery, smart goals, and healthy practical ways to improve the quality of life.

Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies

Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

This low-impact magnetic stimulation activates neurons inside the brain, relieving symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

qEEG/Brain Mapping

Using brain scanning and readings, we create a map of our patients’ brains, helping us develop more targeted and effective treatments.


This process assists patients in visualizing their own brain functionality through continuous EEG readings.

Spravato Therapy

We use carefully monitored doses of Spravato to help patients struggling with complex mental health disorders, including severe depression.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Patients use this practice to help reframe intrusive or negative thought patterns and develop coping techniques for long-term recovery.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This practice helps patients learn to regulate emotions, communicate more effectively, and process their own thoughts and feelings..

Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)

Licensed and trained therapists guide patients through this technique for managing stress and anxiety on an ongoing basis.

Individual Therapy

Patients experience one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist to provide a safe and private place to recover and heal.

Group/Family Therapy

Patients can practice the skills and techniques they have learned in treatment with others in a safe, therapist-guided space.

Contact StoneRidge Centers

5940 E. Copper Hill Dr. Ste B & E, Prescott Valley, AZ. 86314

We exercise progressive, leading brain science in our treatment approach for patients in our community and across the country who are struggling with mental health and addiction challenges.