Getting to Goal - Making lifestyle changes that stick
Guidelines for Goal Setting
Why set working goals?
Rehabilitation starts with well constructed goals. It is a conversation that starts with your health provider on the first visit day. Setting goals helps you focus on what is most important. Imagine how you will feel when you reach your target.
How to arrange your pain rehabilitation goals
Reaching goals lets you know if you are making progress in your pain rehabilitation. There are many areas that people address when they commit to improving their day-to-day functioning and coping with chronic pain. Think about these areas when putting your changes in order:
- What change(s) will allow me to modify how I do things?
- What change(s) will have a clear reward?
- What change(s) am I most willing to make?
- What change(s) can I fit into my lifestyle with the least disruption?
- What change(s) will be the most realistic given my situation?
Setting specific and realistic goals
The problems that the pain has caused you did not develop over night. In fact, they have developed over many years! It can be helpful to start off with a small, more reasonable goal. This will give you the confidence to tackle those larger goals in the future.
- Make a list of areas to work on.
- Pick one area that is workable.
- Think about what is changeable and not changeable.
- Break the goal into smaller, specific parts.
- Write a plan for how you will reach the goal.
The 90 % Confidence Rule
Do not expect to be perfect every day of the week. This will set you up for failure. Use the 90% confidence rule to decide whether your goal is realistic. Here is how it works: If you are not 90% sure that you can reach that smaller goal within two weeks, you have set the goal too high. Make it smaller.
Smart Goal Setting System
Use the SMART goal setting system to help set precise goals. A well-written goal allows you to track your progress and answer the question, “Did I achieve this goal?” with a clear “yes” or “no” answer.
S = Specific, example: “I will do a strength training routine of lifting a can of soup 5 times with each arm, 2 times a day at least 3 days a week.”
M = Measurable, example: “I will spend 30 minutes visiting with my sister in person or on the phone every Monday.”
A = Achievable, example, “I will exercise by walking 5 minutes at least 3 days a week.”
R = Relevant, example, “I will practice 10 minutes of meditation at least 3 days a week.”
T = Time based, example: “For the next week, I will prepare at least 1 meal for my family.”
My Personal Smart Goal
Use the SMART goal setting system to set your own goals. Start by making small changes one step at a time. Remember, anything you do today towards your goals is a step in the right direction.
1st Goal: _________________________________________________________
2nd Goal: _________________________________________________________
3rd Goal: _________________________________________________________
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/11/2011
Copyright © 08/11/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7164
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