SMART Goals for Addiction Recovery

SMART Goals for Recovery

SMART Goals for Recovery

Setting goals is an essential aspect of personal and professional development. Whether you’re aiming for career advancement, fitness milestones, or personal growth, having a clear direction and a plan of action is crucial. SMART goals for recovery can be a valuable tool in improving substance use outcomes. By providing a framework that helps people to set realistic and achievable objectives, SMART goals can create huge impacts on your recovery journey! Our clinicians at Centered Recovery Programs work with our clients individually to work on setting their own, personalized SMART goals. Let’s dive in!

What are SMART goals?

SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Each component of this framework plays a vital role in ensuring that your goals are well-defined, trackable, realistic, aligned with your aspirations, and have a clear deadline. Let’s examine each element in detail:


Your goals should be clear and concise, leaving no room for ambiguity. Rather than stating a broad objective that can be interpreted in many ways, be more specific in your objective. The more specific the goal, the easier it is to understand and work towards it.

  • “I will attend a support group meeting every week for the next six months to help me stay focused on my recovery and connect with others who understand my challenges.”
  • “I will attend a support group meeting at least twice a week for the next three months.”
  • “I will replace my after-work drinking habit with exercise at the gym.”


Setting measurable goals enables you to track your progress and determine whether you are moving in the right direction. Including measurable criteria such as quantities, time frames, or percentages allows you to gauge your success. Measurable goals enable individuals to stay motivated and see the tangible results of their efforts.

  • “I will reduce my alcohol consumption by 50% over the next three months by tracking the number of drinks I have each day and gradually decreasing the amount.”
  • “I will reduce my smoking habit by 75% within the next three months by gradually cutting down the number of cigarettes I smoke each day.”
  • “I will reduce my alcohol consumption to no more than two drinks per week.”


While it’s important to aim high, setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration and disappointment, potentially derailing the recovery process. Ensure that your goals are realistic and within your capabilities. Consider your resources, skills, and current circumstances. Setting achievable goals promotes motivation and empowers you to take consistent action.

  • “I will complete a 30-day outpatient treatment program to develop the necessary skills and strategies to manage my addiction effectively.”
  • “I will attend counseling sessions twice a month for the next year to address underlying issues contributing to my addictive behaviors and develop healthy coping mechanisms.”


Goals should be directly relevant to the individual’s recovery journey, addressing specific areas that require improvement. Tailoring goals to individual needs and circumstances increase the chances of success. Pursuing relevant goals provides a sense of purpose and increases the likelihood of sustained commitment.

  • “I will develop healthier coping mechanisms to manage stress and anxiety, such as practicing mindfulness and deep breathing exercises.
  • “I will repair relationships damaged by my substance use by attending family therapy sessions.”
  • “I will prioritize self-care activities, such as exercising for 30 minutes three times a week and practicing mindfulness meditation daily, to reduce stress and improve my overall well-being during my recovery.”


Establishing deadlines for your goals adds a sense of urgency and helps you stay accountable. Setting a timeframe provides a clear endpoint and encourages you to act consistently. Deadlines can help individuals stay focused and committed to their recovery.

  • “I will complete a relapse prevention course within the next three months.”
  • “I will celebrate one year of sobriety by planning a sober and meaningful event with my loved ones.”
  • “Within the next two months, I will identify and eliminate triggers that contribute to my addiction by working with a therapist and creating a personalized relapse prevention plan.”

Get Your SMART On

SMART goals should be customized to individual circumstances, strengths, and challenges. Additionally, goals may evolve over time as progress is made, and it’s essential to evaluate and adjust them as needed regularly. Seeking support from professionals, such as therapists or counselors, can also assist in setting effective SMART goals and providing guidance throughout recovery. At Centered Recovery Programs, we recognize how important it is to have goals throughout the recovery process, and we are here to help! To learn more about our programs, call us today at 800.556.2966!

Written by Jennifer Lopes, BS Psy