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Goal Setting For Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery

Setting goals is the best way to achieve a successful stroke rehabilitation outcome. Evidence from various sources strongly supports the development and use of a patient-centered goal-planning approach to rehabilitation greatly improves outcomes particularly if the goals are challenging yet attainable.

When starting any stroke rehabilitation program think what is it that you want to accomplish at the end of your program and use the following goal setting exercises and tips to formulate your goals.

A widely accepted approach to goal setting is the SMART method. When setting goals you want them to be:

(S) Specific
A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. To make your goals specific answer the following questions:
Who: Who is involved?
What: What do I want to accomplish?
Where: Where do I want to do this?
When: Establish a time frame?
Why: Spell out specific reason to achieve the goal.

(M) Measurable
Goals needs to have a realistic measurement and it needs to be something that you personally see as a measure of progress – for example, you may prefer to measure goals progress on number of steps take, number of words spoken, number of minutes or hours per week spent on the goal. Sometime the measurement system is refined as you progress towards your goal and as you become more aware of the measurable benefits. Just don’t change the measurement system for the sake of showing progress if there really hasn’t been any.

(A) Achievable
Goals should be achievable; they should stretch and challenge yourself but define the goals well enough so that you can achieve them. You can meet most any goal when you plan your steps wisely. Achievable goals motivate individuals, impossible goals de-motivate.

(R) Realistic/Relevant
Achievable goals are based on current conditions and situations. You may want to run the fastest 10K of your life but if reality is you just survived a stroke, then your goals aren’t relevant to the realities of your situation.

(T) Timed
Goals must have a deadline. Keep that date in mind and think of it as the day you get to celebrate your success. Deadlines also keep you on track by creating a sense of urgency since the clock is ticking.

TIP: Consider both short and long term goals.  Create a number of short-term goals as stepping-stones to achieve your long-term goals.

By: Stroke-Network.com Staff Writer Amy McCraken

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"After a stroke set goals for any areas in your life you want to focus on such as: family, home, financial, career, spiritual, ethical, physical, health, social, cultural, mental or educational."

Tips to keep you on track:

  1. Write down your goals. Include the details.
  2. Review your goal every morning.
  3. Share your goals with a friend or family member and send weekly updates.
  4. Check in with yourself regularly and ask:
  • Is this goal easier or harder than expected?
  • Can you take on more, or do you need to take smaller steps?
  • Overall, are you happy with your progress? If not, figure out why and fix the problem.
  • What are you doing well towards this goal? Keep going.
  • What do you need to do better to achieve this goal? Do better.
  • Are you enjoying this goal, or at least excited about the end result? Reward yourself for achieving short-term goals and passing various stepping-stone and milestones to keep motivated.
  • Are you being honest about your progress towards this goal? If you haven’t been honest with yourself, is this holding you back?
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