Goal Setting –
a topic that comes up every January (or perhaps December for my fellow ambitious entrepreneurs. I see you!)
You might be wondering, why do I need to set goals to relieve pain? Or, I don’t need this, I know my goal is that I want to get rid of the pain.
Okay, that’s cool and everything but the importance of setting a goal is to give you some direction, kinda like GPS, so you know where you are going. This helps you figure out which things you need to do daily or weekly to get closer to where you want to be.
Without actually setting a goal, it’s like getting in your car and just driving without a destination. While it’s fun and exciting along the way, you probably won’t know where you want to go.
Step 1: Choose where you want to go. This is your end goal.
In order to choose the right goal for you, many things come into play.
How much time do you have to dedicate?
How bad do you really want it?
Are you willing to make changes to your lifestyle or current habits?
How quickly do you need it to happen?
These are just a few questions you need to start thinking about.
When it comes to chronic pain, the shortest amount of time it takes (typically) to heal is 3 months to a year with a strategic plan working with a practitioner. Working on your own without any help, it could take 1 year to several years. Just some things to keep in mind when you choose your timeline.
You also want to make your goals SMART.
Specific – exactly what you want to achieve
Measurable – using objective measures to know when you have reached your goal or can see yourself making progress, for example a pain scale from 0-10.
Achievable – something that is actually possible for you depending on where you are on your health journey.
Realistic – you can’t hit your goals magically. There is work involved no matter what it is you want to do. How much effort are you willing to put in? It has to make sense with your lifestyle and what changes you are willing to make.
Time-bound – You want to have a loose deadline. It doesn’t need to be set in stone. This just gives you an idea of how much work it might take to get there. If you choose 3 months from now, you’ll be working a lot harder than someone doing the same thing as you but chooses the slow path of 1 year to reach the same destination. Neither one is wrong. It depends on what you want.
Take some time and write out what you want. Here’s an example below to give you some more guidance:
Jessica has been feeling pain for 4 years now. She has tried a bunch of stuff at home but she hasn’t really found anything that really takes the pain away. It is always temporary relief and she wants a better solution. An actual fix to the problem. No more band-aid solutions or pain meds. This is Jessica’s goal broken into it’s SMART components:
S – manage pain to the point where daily activities are pain-free
M – get down from 7-8/10 constantly to a 1-3/10 occasionally
A/R – I am willing to spend about 1 hour a day to reach this goal and make all the changes necessary by following a plan laid out for me
T – I can do this within 3-4 months since I am working with a coach or practitioner
Now that you have your end goal, we can work backwards from there to know what is needed to get to it.
Step 2: Figure out which areas you need the most support in
In this case, Jessica in the example above wants to speed things up as much as possible. Why be in pain longer than is necessary!? She’s willing to spend the money in order to save time and achieve better health so she can actually feel good. She’s done the whole lone-wolf thing and she’s over it because she’s in the exact same position as she was 4 years ago, maybe even slightly worse.
Jessica has an idea of where she is going because she set up her goal. Now when she works with her coach or practitioner, they can give her the next steps to take and in the right order so she isn’t wasting her time.
If you are doing this on your own, these are the areas that you will need to look at and make some changes for yourself:
Quick Pain Relief
Find something that works for you to relieve pain quickly at the beginning. This can also be helpful on the days where the pain gets worse and you feel like you are moving backwards in terms of progress.
Following an anti-inflammatory protocol or at the very least, removing the processed foods, sugar, and alcohol causing inflammation.
The environment you surround yourself in – both people and things. Are they toxic? Full of chemicals? Negativity? Try to avoid, minimize, or remove these from your life.
Increase the positivity and get aligned with your soul. Gratitude and affirmations can move things forward here as well as looking at what you spend your time doing. Do you really love it?
Address the stress. Not stressed? Your body probably would tell you otherwise. Just because you don’t perceive stress mentally, it doesn’t mean your body can’t feel it physically. Meditation and breathwork can be really helpful.
Move your body every. single. day!
This is non-negotiable. It can be anything you love – walking, yoga, dancing, weight-lifting, running, whatever it is. Stretching is helpful but it won’t solve your problems.
It could be helpful to look at your posture. Change positions frequently. You don’t need perfect posture.
Are you sleeping 7-9 hours a night? Do you wake up feeling stiff, sore, tired, or achy? Are you waking up through the night? Can you find a position to sleep in that’s comfortable? What bed and pillow are you using? Do you find it difficult to fall asleep? Try working on your sleep.
Support Your Entire Body
Make sure you are supporting your ENTIRE body and all its systems. Pain isn’t a separate thing. Everything you do/do not do can contribute to your pain. This is why you need a holistic approach to get rid of it for good. That includes your lymphatic system, liver, and guts.
Strengthen your body. Do specific exercises for the area of concern. If you have back pain, you need to do back-specific exercises. These don’t need to be boring or hard. Look into mobility exercises and core strength.
Now that you know what areas you might need to look at, focus on the top 3 things that are in need of the most support and start there. Once you hit those 3 goals, focus on 3 new areas.
Step 3: Break down the areas into smaller monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
For example, working on your sleep. Here is how you could break that down.
Lets say your sleep is totally garbage and you can’t remember the last time you slept well. This might be your current biggest priority. If you are willing to spend even 15 minutes a day working on your sleep, that’s better than nothing.
Breaking down that 15 minutes you’ve dedicated to sleep:
This month I want to go from sleeping at 1am to 11pm.
I will spend each week focusing on one particular habit to change in order to do this in one month – reducing screen time, incorporating a bedtime routine, blocking blue light, and reducing caffeine intake during the day.
Week 1: Reduce screen time
- no screens 1 hour before bed
Week 2: Incorporate a bedtime routine
- incorporate relaxing things into a short bedtime routine such as meditation or breathwork
Week 3: Block blue light
- install or setup blue light filters on all screens after sunset (including the phone, computer, TV, tablet, etc.)
Week 4: Reduce caffeine
- no caffeine after 12pm each day
Now that you are sleeping better, you might notice that you have less stiffness in the morning, more energy throughout the day so you can get more done, you feel better when moving your body, and you are able to fall asleep faster. So many wins! Oh, and of course – less pain 😉
After doing these tasks consistently (consistency is key), you start creating new healthy habits. For more info on how to create healthy habits that stick, make sure you read or listen to one of my fave books, Atomic Habits by James Clear.
This is how you make changes stick and this is how you get closer to your goals.
In no time, you’ll be feeling much less pain by actually focusing on the things that will get you closer to that goal instead of following the advice of Dr. Google or that Insta influencer with that bomb new unsustainable workout routine that has nothing to do with your health goals.
Need help? Book a free call with me. I’d be more than happy to help you how to get closer to your goals, even if that doesn’t mean working with me.