A goal is something a person wants to achieve, the types of goals that people set themselves can vary considerably. Some people may set themselves a goal that is of personal importance to them e.g. a person may set themselves a goal to lose weight to help reduce the pain they experience in their knees. Others may set goals that may not hold any personal value such as completing a mandatory training course at work. Whilst setting a goal may appear to be simplistic, the understanding of goal setting processes and successfully achieving a goal can be quite complex. The following will give you some useful hints and tips on how to help you set and achieve your goals.
What to do when considering a goal
- It is important that you are in a state of readiness to want to set yourself a goal.
- Evidence has shown that people who set goals which gives them a degree of personal importance are more committed in striving to achieve these goals. Therefore, trying to identify a goal that means something to you will help.
- The goal needs to be realistic for you to achieve. Sometimes people who have a condition or who have suffered an injury may lack understanding about their symptoms and may set a goal which is unrealistic. Making sure you understand any conditions or injuries you have will help minimise any unrealistic goals from being set.
- Setting a goal which brings a degree of challenge has been shown to encourage people to be more focused. If however, you lack self-confidence then setting a goal which is not too challenging may a better approach.
Putting your goal into practice
Once you have set yourself a goal that is meaningful to you, it is important to follow a process that will optimise the success in achieving the goal.
- Identifying whether you are ready to set yourself a goal, and then establishing what that goal consists of is the first step.
- Once you have set the goal, it is important to develop your commitment towards achieving this goal. A helpful activity would be to write a few words down regarding how important the goal is to you, are you ready to go for it, if so, why are you ready and if not, do you require support to help you become more ready to work towards to the goal.
- Developing an action plan on how you are best going to work towards achieving your goal. Often writing the plan down can give you a visual reminder and keep you focused on the task in hand.
- Whilst we are unable to predict any unforeseen situations that can occur generally in life, identifying any potential barriers that could reduce the goal from being achieved is important. It might be useful to write down any potential barriers along with a plan to best manage them.
How to stay on track with your goals
Once you have started the process of working towards your goals, self-evaluating or obtaining feedback (if you are under a physiotherapist, or any other health care professional) is an important aspect of goal setting. If you feel you are on track it can further motivate you to keep going. If you feel you are not where you would like to be, you can use this opportunity to adjust the goal as opposed to not achieving the goal and avoid disappointment. If you have lost your way a little in relation to motivation, looking back at your notes about how important the goal is to you and your commitment may help boost your motivation.
What to do once a goal has been achieved (avoiding the goal setting paradox)
There can be such a sense of satisfaction and achievement once a goal has been achieved. It is common, however, for you to feel a little lost or even a little low as the goal you have been working hard towards is no longer something you need to do anymore. Once the goal has been achieved and you have reflected upon your experience, it might be worth looking ahead to set yourself another goal to give you a focus.
Importance of Goal Setting in Rehabilitation
Setting goals is an important part of the rehabilitation process to recover from a personal injury or long-term illness. They act as a very good measure of progress and success when working toward a specific outcome within recovery, whilst providing motivation, therefore helping the clients put in maximum effort into every goal-orientated behaviour.
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