What we’ll cover
The importance of goal setting
Goal setting is a concept that can be used in all facets of life. As physiotherapists, we commonly adapt the concept of SMART goals with patients when developing a treatment plan. SMART goals were first introduced in the 1980s before they soon became widely implemented both in business and health sectors. Physiotherapist Laura Scott examines how goal setting in commonly used within physiotherapy.
What are SMART goals?
The acronym SMART stands for; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Setting SMART goal provides context and intention compared to other goal setting which can be open ended and vague. For example; “I want to be fitter” compared to “I will run for 15 minutes 3x weekly”. Whilst both goals have a common theme of running and getting fit, the latter provides a plan of how it will be achieved.
Why is goal setting important?
When studies have compared populations who set goals alongside a plan of action against those who don’t, the evidence shows that those with set intentions accomplish far more than those who don’t. Furthermore, the evidence also showed that those who set a plan typically involve friends or family to help keep them accountable.
As humans, we are wired to respond positively to achievements no matter how big or small. Setting short-term goals that are attainable helps to increase your motivation and keep you on track for a more long-term goal. It helps to create a road map of how you will get from A to B without procrastination or disappointment. To stick with the same goal from above perhaps your short term goal is to run for 15 minutes 3x weekly but the long-term goal is to run 10 kms. However, if you were new to running and had such a big goal you’re likely to feel lost and soon lose interest without short term achievements whether it be for mileage or speed.
How is goal setting used in physiotherapy?
In the context of physiotherapy, goal setting is a fundamental part of treatment. You alongside your physiotherapist are likely to develop patient-centered goals which provide direction to treatment and rehabilitation.
In the clinic at the moment you may have seen our growing goals board. We are encouraging everyone to put up their goals whether they be related to physiotherapy, active goals or something more personal. You have the option to be anonymous should you wish. The evidence shows that physically writing down your goal whether it be on paper, on our phone or on our board, you are 20% more likely to achieve your goal.
Personally, I have set myself a goal to run a half marathon in October without stopping so feel free to help keep me accountable.