The Importance of Goal Setting for Stroke Patients

smart goal setting for stroke patients

Goal setting during stroke rehabilitation is a small task that can reap huge benefits.

Keeping your eye on a specific goal can help keep you focused and diligent about pursuing your stroke recovery exercises.

We’re going to cover some common goal-setting mistakes and then discuss 5 useful tips that will accelerate your stroke recovery.

Let’s get started.

Common Mistakes in Goal Setting for Stroke Patients

A common mistake when setting goals for stroke patients is doing too much at once.

Stroke recovery should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint race. The timeline of stroke recovery is often long and full of obstacles.

So don’t go for everything all at once. Sure, your ultimate goal is probably to achieve a full recovery, which is definitely a possibility.

But if you do too much too fast, then you’ll lose momentum.

How to Set Goals for Stroke Patients

The purpose of goal setting for stroke patients is to provide a step-by-step guide on how to achieve your ultimate goal.

Here’s how to do it correctly:

1. Start Small, Start Now

Take your ultimate goal (like learning how to walk again) and break it down into smaller chunks.

Perhaps your first goal will be to raise one leg unassisted. Then your next goal will be to stand on one leg – assisted then unassisted.

Create clear steps for yourself to take so that you can stay focused on your long-term vision.

2. Be SMART About It

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time-bound.

As you write down your goals, try to remember how you’ll be able to measure them.

With our example above, perhaps you want to be able to stand on one leg for 5 seconds and then your next goal will be 30 second.

When you set measurable goals, you’ll see clear results; and there’s nothing more motivating than witnessing your own progress.

3. Don’t Compare Your Journey to Someone Else’s

Watching other stroke survivors achieve their goals makes it tempting to set the same exact goals for yourself.

You might think to yourself, “Hey, if it worked for them it’ll work for me too, right?” Well, not quite.

Honor the fact that every stroke recovery is different, which means that everyone’s goals and results will be different too.

Focus on yourself and set your goals with your personal capabilities in mind.

4. Create a Backup Plan

How many times have you created a goal for yourself only to find that life carried you a different direction?

Did you get upset and give up, or did you adjust your sails and keep going?

Be prepared to adjust your plan as you progress and create a series of ‘what if’ backup plans.

This way, if you fall short in one area, you’ll know exactly what to do to keep going.

5. Collaborate with Your Therapist

If you’re working with a therapist, try working alongside them to create your goals.

With their knowledge and expertise alongside your initiative and motivation, you’ll be able to co-create an amazing set of goals that will accelerate your recovery big time.

Goals Setting Is Just the Start

If your ultimate goal is to achieve the highest recovery possible, know that goal-setting is just one piece of the puzzle.

Be sure that you’re covering these 15 other steps on how to recover from stroke.