The importance of setting yourself some targets or goals cannot be over emphasised.

Setting goals creates a map for you to move towards your chosen objective. Without some ‘milestones’ along the way, you won’t know how far you’ve progressed, or even if you are still heading in the right direction.

Overall, your goals are probably along the lines of resisting your cravings for alcohol, combined with finding some better ways to deal with the other problems in your life. But a goal like “I want to feel happier” is not much use if you don’t know how to get there.

You need to feel you are achieving something in order to remain optimistic, and small achievements are easier than huge ones. You will not make the changes you want in one go, but in smaller steps.

A useful acronym for goal setting is the “SMART” goal.

Make sure your goals are:

Specific – vague terms are not useful and can easily be confusing.

Measurable – how will you know if the goal has been achieved?

Achievable – don’t set impossibly high targets for yourself.

Realistic – you know yourself, what can you actually do?

Time-limited – set a period in which this will be achieved.

If you don’t succeed at your goal, examine why not, re-frame the goal and try again. If you do succeed, acknowledge it. Reward yourself, though not with a drink obviously!

Again, don’t aim for the sky – a goal might simply be, “I won’t have my first drink until after dinner”.

Write some goals now and save them to refer back to.

    Now send these to yourself for your own records.