Recovery, Goals And Expectations

January goals for 12 Steppers We get the name of the first month of the year from the old Roman god, Janus, who looked both back and forward.

The end of the year and the beginning of the next is a time when many of us look both back and forward.

We review what the year has been like, maybe in 10th Step fashion. We look at both what went well, what didn’t and our part in both.

We then turn to the future, and set out a Vision or goals or both.

There are, in my experience, two areas of stinking thinking that can trip at least those of us in 12 Step recovery up – expectations and wishful thinking.


In the story, Acceptance Was The Answer, the physician talks about the dangers of expectations, saying in part “…my serenity is inversely proportionality to my expectations.” (p. 420 4th ed. and

The problem, I think, is that so often my expectations are actually or become demands. When I’m making demands, no matter what I’m calling them I’m headed for trouble. At the very least I’m apt to be disappointed, at worst I lose my serenity entirely.

It’s awfully easy, particularly in the beginning, to turn goals into demand driven expectations.

Magical thinking

Several years ago the movie, The Secret became a huge hit. It talks about how our thinking can bring us wealth, health, even fame and fortune. It promises a secret that has really been around for ages. One truth is that the more you focus on something the more you tend to get of exactly that. It’s probably at least partly true. The temptation, however, is to use this kind of magical thinking to ignore our part, to fail to see our real motive, to get lost in the selfishness of getting.

This type of thinking tends to mess up real goal setting.

You can recognize it by a feeling of excitement and a refusal to even consider what might be real. If you play close attention, with a little practice you’ll be able to know when you’re fooling yourself and when you’re not.

Baby steps

I’ve also found that when I have a goal I need to break it down into doable steps – even baby steps.

If, for example, I want to write a book, I start with a 10 word purpose, an ideal reader, and a simple list of what I want to cover. For this blog I want to do a single post every week, or at least most weeks. Because I want to do a better job keeping my house tidy, getting the dishes done daily is a simple, baby step I can take.

The trick with baby steps is they are bite-sized pieces I’m likely to actually do. Chunking down a goal this way keeps me from going into overwhelm. When I’m in overwhelm I rarely get anything much done.

Goals can work well in recovery as long as we keep them in proper perspective.

What about you? Do you make goals this time of year? Review the past year? How do you celebrate or mark the turning of the year? Tell us about it in comments.

Love, blessings and abundance,

Anne W. Powerfully Recovered



Image: AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by quinn.anya

Enjoy this post? You help me immensely when you share it on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, etc. Make sure you don’t miss anything!sure you Subscribe in the box on the right & get a FREE copy of my booklet, 36 Tips for Working The Steps.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: