GOAL SETTING is an essential part of any rehabilitation program and is used to define what outcomes you want to achieve and how to organize time and resources to make the very most of your rehabilitation program. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you and your therapist can then develop a plan outlining where to concentrate your efforts and how to eliminate or reduce any distractions that would otherwise move you from your course.
As well as providing a structure, setting good goals can be incredibly motivating. Goals inspire self-confidence when achieved, especially when short-term achievements are linked to longer term goals and the ‘big picture’.
Goal setting is not just an art, there is also a little science to it and as such can be more successful with a few guidelines. It may also be more powerful to state each goal as part of an action plan and to write them down with your therapist and review them regularly. This is often done formally to evaluate your rehabilitation program and as a tool to reflect on your progress. When you achieve a goal, it is important to recognise the implications of the goal and perhaps to review and re-write the rest of the goal plan.
It is also important to reward yourself appropriately- this should definitely be written into your plan to acknowledge all of your hard work! All the best for 2010 and future goal setting. A useful way of making goals more powerful is to use the SMART mnemonic. While there are plenty of variants, SMART usually stands for.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model eg “I want to walk 500 metres in 20 minutes’. Measurable. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress and concrete criteria. Eg: “I want to climb 1 flight of stairs independently”. Attainable. Make sure your goal will challenge you but is not too far out of your reach as you probably won’t commit to doing it. Eg; “I want to improve my knee flexion by 10 degrees this week”. Realistic. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement. Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren’t very capable. Eg; ‘I want to improve my walk by 50 metres this week”. Timely. Set a end point on your goal to give you a clear target to work towards. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic. Eg; “I want to walk 500 metres in 20 minutes in 3 months”.