What’s coming in 2022

In one of our weekly house meeting with our Lifers, we discussed what our goals are for this upcoming year. New Years resolutions can be intimidating and let’s be honest, how many of us actually keep those resolutions after a few weeks into the year? A study from the University of Scranton found that on average, only 19% of individuals actually end up following through, long-term, on their resolutions. Instead of focusing on creating new year’s resolutions, we had a productive conversation on what goals our Lifers want to focus on for themselves. The Lifers shared their plans for their personal, financial, health, and employment goals with the group and we wish them nothing but success in their endeavors.

Many of our Lifers expressed that they want to achieve better situations in regards to their finances, like building up credit scores and growing their savings accounts in order to pursue financial stability, as well as for their future pursuits of home and car ownership. Health goals were another area that many Lifers touched on. Whether it was a goal for weight-loss, healthier eating habits, quitting smoking, or drinking more water – the desire to be healthier was on a lot of Lifers minds. Some of our staff and Lifers are currently training to run a 10K, so prioritizing one’s health and well-being is integral to their success.

Goals regarding employment was another big area of focus. We have Lifers that are returning from incarceration very recently, so their initial goals are to gain stable employment, but for our Lifers who are already employed, goals like promotions and developing a stronger work ethic are their priorities.

Our Lifers personal goals vary individual by individual, but in general we witnessed how many Lifers are focused on staying clean and sober and taking life day by day. Prioritizing sobriety sets the foundation for success, and the good stuff will follow. Mending estranged relationships with family and friends, regaining custody of children, balancing co-parenting duties, and reconnecting with family post-incarceration were common goals shared by many Lifers. We have Lifers who want to enroll in school, some who are pursuing CDL licensing or insurance licensing, others who want to volunteer with NA groups and get more involved in the community, and arguably one of the biggest and most common goals is for our Lifers to continue working through the REAL LIFE module book to work towards graduating the program.  Developing personal attributes like humility, selflessness, and a desire to leave a positive mark on the world were testaments shared by many. Maintaining a clean and sober lifestyle is the foundation that makes all these other goals possible. These goals, hopes, dreams, and ambitions, are our own, and in order to be supported in the pursuit of goals, we need to share our goals with like-minded people who are also striving to be better versions of ourselves. People from our past who are not on a journey to recovery are not going to be valuable or helpful to our success, so it is important to know who your support network is. The staff at REAL LIFE believes that every one of our Lifers has the capability to achieve their goals and we look forward to witnessing these goals come to fruition.

Identifying our goals is the first step, but how do we actually achieve these goals and avoid falling into the 79% category of individuals who weren’t able to follow through on their resolutions? One method that many find helpful is the concept of a “SMART Goal.” The SMART goal model is attributed to Peter Drucker, an American author and a consultant in the field of organizational development and management. SMART goals are meant to help individuals create clear and reachable goals. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

A specific goal should be stated in terms of what you will do and it is best to use action words to describe this goal. A goal should be measurable, meaning you should identify what evidence will prove that you are making progress on your goal. A goal should be achievable, make sure your goal is something that you can actually accomplish. A goal should be relevant, it should reflect your values and long-term objectives. Lastly, it is beneficial for a goal to be time-bound. Giving yourself a time-frame for when you would like to accomplish your goal helps boost motivation and accountability. Whether the SMART goal model is utilized, or another approach is taken, the general consensus is that writing down our goals, telling others about our goals, and establishing time-frames for when we will achieve these goals, all play an important role in determining how successfully we can achieve our goals.

We look forward to seeing our Lifers accomplish their goals – and to share them with you, so you can celebrate their victories with us!