Setting Goals are important but they don't have to stay a dream.
Recovering from an injury is hard work. It takes up a lot of your time and energy, not just physically but your emotional energy as well.
Setting a goal can help you make the most of this energy and isn’t as hard as it seems.
What you need to set a goal.
This may seem an illogical heading. Everyone knows how to set a goal right? You just imagine what you want to achieve and say “that’s my goal”.
Yes, that is correct but what is that actual goal? Is it achievable? Is there an end point a time in place where you have that goal in your hands and don’t have to do anything to keep it?
A goal can be as big and ethereal as “One day I will be back at the same job as I was before I was injured.” That’s a great goal. Putting aside whether you injury will dissipate to such an extent that you can achieve it. It is not a goal you will be able to take as done when you’ve achieved it. As you grow older recovering from an injury is harder, as is keeping up your recovery- what is technically called “maintenance”. So a large goal will invariably mark a point where your efforts change from obtaining to maintaining that goal. It is not always hard or difficult to do both but when you set a goal you also need to consider how you might keep that goal.
The big goals are also made up of smaller goals. Recovering from an injury will involve other actions, like keeping up with your physiotherapy exercises, or the exercises given to you by you psychologist. These can also be goals, the small milestones you need to reach again and again before you reach the main goal.
Setting goals can also be difficult. In the midst of pain and suffering a large goal can seem out of reach, a pipe dream that you only imagine reaching if not for the sea of difficulties that you have to swim before you can even see that shore.
The truth is that goals and our capacity to meet goals is different for everybody, some will find them easy to set and reach, others will struggle to even think of something they could call a goal beyond waking up the next morning (or even getting to sleep through a night).
Here is a quick cheat sheet for setting a goal though.
1. Make it personal.
Having a goal which can only be attained if someone else gives it to you isn’t realistic, it is not unrealistic to need other people’s help to attain a goal but the silver plate dream should be set to one side.
2. Make it practical.
A practical goal will give you something to work towards, winning the lottery or the jackpot at the pokies isn’t practical- it’s a great way to dream an escape but not a goal in and of itself. A practical goal is one which you can not only imagine yourself achieving but one which is based on your life and circumstances.
3. Make it big.
Having a goal that you have recovered or are doing something that seems unattainable to you right now is a good thing to have. Recovering from an injury is a brilliant goal to have. It is also brilliant to have a goal that though big, isn’t as defined. Adapting to an acquired disability is a good example of this. Doing the best you can is a great goal and one that can’t be drawn up like a business plan.
4. Make it small:
That big dream is made up of those small milestones which are also goals. Especially those less defined big goals like adapting to an acquired disability. Small dreams do need to be verifiable though, someone else should be able to see your success. If your big goal is to learn how to play the piano in concert, a small goal within that big goal may be practicing for 10 minutes every day for two months. Someone else can see you practice for those 10 minutes and each of those 10 minutes is a marking stone on your way to performing on the piano in concert.
5. Don’t be ashamed or afraid of your goal.
Hard as it may be small or big, realistic or unrealistic as they may be a goal is a great thing to have you should never be ashamed or afraid of them.
This is part of the self-talk everyone does while working towards a goal. You may get disheartened along the way, or think people will laugh at you for having that goal; you should keep telling yourself that your goal is your goal and however small it may seem to others, it is never stupid and never something to be scared about working towards.
Fear of success usually happens if someone has failed to succeed previously. The main reason for the lack of success is that the steps they have taken may have been too big to make, or the time frame was unrealistic, or they have forgotten that the most important thing was:
6. Celebrate the small steps more than the big steps.
If you do make a big deal out of those small goals you are more likely to keep going to the big goal, and be OK with the time it is taking to reach it.
1. Failure is not an option.
No this isn’t using it in the Hollywood sense. If you think you can succeed or fail then you are looking at it in the wrong way and you are inviting defeat. It is true that some babies go from sitting to walking without the crawling phase (rare though it is) but once all their friends are walking after a period of crawling, what does it matter that those babies were walking first? If you think there is a concept called “failure” then please put it out of your mind, you may need to do achieve more of those small goals, see a few more milestones pass you by before you “Succeed” but what that is a concept of time rather than success or failure.
Finally setting a goal needs to be something you can achieve and believe that you can achieve. If it’s a big one or a small one, what matters is that you know what it is you want to be once you have achieved it, and once you have achieved it, knowing what you need to do to maintain it, and that maintenance is generally repeating those small steps regularly.