The healing process can be an opportunity to regain the control and autonomy that is often taken away during a traumatic experience. You are in the driver seat of your recovery and you decide how you want to navigate your healing and what’s best for you.
Setting goals or benchmarks is one way to measure your growth and celebrate small wins as you recover after trauma. If you choose to set goals, remember that everyone heals in their own way and in their own time.
Be patient with your progress and compassionate toward yourself. Try not to compare your own growth to someone else’s—your path to recovery is yours and only yours.
What do you want to achieve? It can help to think about what’s important to you and what inspires you. You can work on something personal (like thinking more positively) or something more tangible (like making time for friends you’ve lost touch with).
Choosing goals that are specific and measurable makes them easier to achieve. Saying one kind thing to yourself daily for two weeks is a specific and measurable goal to think more positively. You can easily track it and tell if you’ve successfully accomplished it or not.
Once you choose a goal, think about whether it’s realistic for where you are right now in your healing process. Be gentle with yourself and the benchmarks you select. It’s okay if you don’t achieve a goal you set the first time. Large goals can be broken into smaller, more easily attainable goals. No goal is too small. Keep things simple. You will get there.
It’s helpful to have a mix of both short and long-term goals. How many goals are you focusing on at the same time? Focusing your attention on 2-3 goals at a time can make it easier to keep track of them.
You don’t have to recover or set goals alone. It’s okay to reach out to people you trust. Extra support and motivation can help you achieve your goals. It’s up to you to decide who you want to involve in your recovery process, even if it’s just having someone to celebrate with.
When you accomplish a goal, take a moment to take in your achievement. Acknowledge and celebrate growth, even if it’s small. It’s proof that you are still moving forward. Healing from trauma is hard work. It is not a straight-forward or easy process. It takes time, and you may experience setbacks along the way, but you can do it.