This is part 4 of our Ultimate Guide to Life after a Stroke series.
How to Make Progress Happen
To make progress in your recovery, you need to have goals. Yet so many people ignore this step because they think that having a rough idea in their head is good enough, but it isn’t.
Ideas in your head aren’t concrete and they don’t hold you accountable.
You need a focused vision of what you want to accomplish in the next few days, weeks, months, and years. It sounds like a lot – and it is – but it will keep you moving forward.
To set goals, pick something big and break it down into smaller, bite-sized chunks. Then, create deadlines for yourself to achieve these smaller goals by.
For example, if you want to regain hand function, then create a goal of regaining pinching movement in your index finger in 3 weeks, or whatever is reasonable for you. Then plan to have movement in two fingers in 6 weeks.
When you have a calendar full of concrete deadlines, you’re much more likely to take action and get things done. You have a vision, and seeing it written out will give you a taste of how good it will feel to get there.
Then you’ll naturally be motivated to work hard and make it happen.
Defining Short-Term Focus
Your short-term focus: Adapt to everything while working on getting back to normal life.
Adapting means finding shortcuts, or compensation techniques*, that make life easier.
*Be careful not to settle for compensation techniques because they can really hinder your recovery. You’ll get used to them, and if you don’t have the energy and motivation to grow past them, then you’ll be stuck with them forever.
While it’s a good idea to avoid shortcuts altogether, it can seriously drain your energy trying to do everything the hard way – especially in the early stages of recovery.
So cut yourself some slack… while you work hard.
Making life easier so that you can put in hard work will allow you to focus on the long-term goals that you want to achieve.
Working the Long-Term, Foolproof Plan
The long-term plan: Settle for nothing and get back to life as it was before.
Stroke recovery takes time, and there’s no point winning the short race if you can’t stick around for the long haul. You want to get back to normal life, but you don’t want to burn yourself out while you’re doing it.
So keep your end goal in mind and go the extra mile when it makes sense.
Are you feeling relaxed and mellow after your daily mediation? Use this state of mind to wash the dishes with both hands instead of just one.
Feeling particularly energized after drinking some stroke-preventative coffee? Use this energy to perform your rehab exercises with extra gusto.
Be mindful of how you exert your energy, and keep your eyes locked on the long-term goal. If you want it bad enough, and you’re smart and disciplined about it, and you never give up – it’s yours.
What are your short-term goals and long-term vision?
What compensation techniques are you trying to work past?
Leave us a comment below and let’s get talking!
Up next is Part 5: Navigating New Emotions
Earlier posts in this Life after Stroke series: