Stroke Smart Magazine
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Goal Setting: Chart a Successful Recovery
By Christy Bailey
A bleak prognosis at the time of the stroke doesn’t mean you should give up hope on your loved one. Instead, chart a successful recovery by setting Stroke Smart goals. SMART is an acronym for the five characteristics of well-designed goals. By using the SMART tool, you and your loved one will develop goals that will move you forward, sustain your motivation and guide your decisions.
Specific Goals that are clear and precise are easier to follow and track. Example: “Do a better job at leg exercises” is not specific. “Walk around the block” is.
Measurable If your goals are not measurable, you won’t know whether you are making progress towards completing them. It’s also hard to stay motivated when you have no milestones to show that you have progressed. Example: “Walk around the block three
times a week.”
Attainable Goals must be realistic. This does not mean easy; the best goals require you to stretch a little. But you do have to consider constraints in abilities, money and time. Be realistic about what you can accomplish. Example: “Walk around the block three times a week with my cane for support.”
Relevant Goals must be meaningful, otherwise there will be no motivation to achieve them. Don’t create goals to please other people; instead, identify what will give you the most satisfaction. What do you miss being able to do? Example: “Walk around the block three times a week with my cane for support so that I can build the strength and confidence to get out and see my friends and run my own errands.”
Time-bound Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now. Goals must have starting and end points, as well as a fixed time period. Example: “For the next three months, walk around the block three times a week with my cane for support so
that I can build the strength and confidence to get out and see my friends and run my own errands.”
Make sure you write down your goals so you can track your progress. Some people like to post their goals in a visible place such as on the refrigerator.
As a caregiver, you may tend to focus all your time and energy on your loved one. But it is important that you create your own goals as well. Also, you have to factor your needs and limitations into what your loved one can accomplish. Don’t dismiss your needs. And don’t try to do it all.
THE STROKE RECOVERY SCORECARD
Use National Stroke Association’s Stroke Recovery Scorecard to help you evaluate your current situation and determine where you want to focus your energy. From communication and movement to sexuality and social relationships, the Scorecard covers all of the areas in your
stroke recovery journey. To view the tool go to www.stroke.org/RecoveryScorecard or call
(800) STROKES to order a copy.
Use National Stroke Association’s discussion guide to help you set your own goals. The guide includes questions to discuss at your next stroke support group meeting, with your family, or
independently. Go to www.stroke.org/myturn to download the guide or call (800) STROKES.
This issue of Caregiver’s Corner sponsored by the Generous Support of the Hochberg Family in Memory of Rita Hochberg.
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