Setting a goal gives you a target to work towards.
That helps you direct your efforts and it helps you achieve that goal even when you're having a bad day which makes it a little bit more difficult.
Having a goal and a target to work towards makes it much more likely that you're going to achieve that goal.
The important thing about goals is that you need to be able to manage to do your goals.
So first of all they have to be specific.
You have to actually name an activity that you want to do, that you can increase on a weekly basis.
If that activity is walking fifty metres, walking one hundred metres, going to school for an hour or two hours and so you can actually identify that activity.
And the next one, you need to be able to measure that activity.
Imagine I'm spending five minutes on a treadmill, I'm walking five hundred metres or I'm there at school for two hours or so.
The next thing you need to be able to achieve.
You need to choose a goal that you can do.
I've got no doubt and we know in our clinic that patients will achieve more and more but they have to start by something they actually can do.
The next goal is that the goal has to be realistic.
Um… and that means really timewise.
You know everybody is busy during the day and you have to be able be able to fit in your activity during that day.
And finally you need to… achieve these goals according to a timetable.
That's usually a weekly timetable, and at the end of that you can review your week, see how you did and then replan your goals for the next week, hopefully in increasing them.
Our goal with my physio was to get the leg… get the foot still moving because the achilles tendon could've tightened and shortened and therefore stopped me from walking properly… and I would've had to have surgery and all those things.
One of the specific goals that we had working with my physio was just to get weight from the foot to the ground.
So that was an essential one of course.
The method which we used was scales, so… we had a process where it would be just trying to see each week how much you could get on.
So we started at the base weight of zero grams, of course not being able to have any.
So by the end of week one I was just seeing if I could get the scale notch to move just slightly.
And as it progressed further and further through the year and we got more results out of it through working with our physio, it got to the stage where I was trying to see if I could jump from ten grams to twenty grams, up to a kilo, up to two kilos et cetera.
So it was just about perseverance and just… keeping a weekly goal and being strict with it.
And just working through and through and through with these goals.
So one thing I would say to people out there is that don't set your goals too high because if you set your self up to say "Well I'm at this point now, I'm in the early stages and I'm going to be walking in four weeks" then you're not going to get there realistically.
You've got to keep yourself realistic and know that you've just got to work towards that major goal.
And that it will take time.
But you've just got to work with it and you've got to persevere.
And so the mini goals were spanned over a week of just putting extra bits of weight on it here and there, here and there and just getting it going.
But… I guess the first major goal was just being able to put say, a certain amount of weight on that foot.
And so what might've been a significant weight of say twenty kilos or something.
And once we got to that goal that was one of my major goals.
So it was just having that major goal to work with but also the mini goals in-between to get there.
So I think the way to think about goals, especially with me was that the major goals that I can set over a three month period and the mini goals are something that might be just set over a week.
And of course keeping those mini goals realistic and just making sure they're something that's achievable in that week or two weeks if need be.
So remember, the goals have to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time targeted.
Some people call those 'Smart Goals'.
But in essence it's all about you getting back on track and increasing your fitness on a week by week basis.
And another thing about goals is that there's no harm in setting yourself rewards for achieving those goals.
We know how hard it is for you to do that and it's good that you reward yourself for the effort that you've put in.
Well as with much of the whole journey that we've travelled over the last decade of… having a child with chronic pain and a debilitating condition, it's been a whole learning process and we've set small goals rather than try to dive right in the deep end we've actually started out little bits at a time and celebrated small successes because… anything that's a step forward is a benefit to all of us.
We feel excited he feels confident, he feels happy that he's achieved this.
So every time I reached one of my mini goals as a part of that big goal of getting my foot to move more, um… it was just, it wasn't necessarily give myself a chocolate bar every time you got somewhere.
It was just a psychological boost of saying "Yes, I got that one… Let's move to the next one.
" And it was just kind of rolling over and over and just knowing that we had to work towards the next one and to the next one and just moving forward all the time.