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  • Writer's pictureDr. Chris Phillips

5 Steps to Reaching Your Rheumatic Disease Goals in 2022

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

2022 has arrived, and that means it is time to write out those New Year’s resolutions!

January is well-known as the month to set and start new goals.

This can be good or bad. Some people love the motivation and extra push to improve themselves. On the flip side, others find goals to be stressful and feel like they are yet another expectation to fall short of.

Truth be told, setting and achieving goals is a very healthy approach to managing a rheumatic disease.

There is a catch though. Not that there is a right and wrong way to outline the personal and individual details of your life, but you can definitely set yourself up for failure with unrealistic or unattainable goals.

Our team here at Paducah Rheumatology wants to see you succeed in 2022! Here’s a five-step approach designed to help you create achievable New Year’s resolutions.

Step #1 - Review the Past

Don’t hit the ground running without putting on some good running shoes first. In other words, prepare yourself before you begin. Take time to review what has or has not worked for you in the past. Self-reflection gives you valuable insights and information you can use in the goal-setting process.

Step #2 - Look to the Future

Evaluate where you are right now and where you hope to be. Looking to the future gives you a bullseye to work toward. Some might find this step to be overwhelming if your end goals seem out of reach. That’s okay. Take a deep breath. Remind yourself that slow and steady progress wins the race. Success doesn’t come overnight.

Step #3 - Outline Your Goals

This can be a complicated step, so you must be realistic and specific. Recognize your limitations. Push yourself slightly out of your comfort zone, but do not extend much beyond that. Make sure your goals are achievable. For example, let’s say you want to start an exercise routine, but at the moment your physical activity is very limited. It would not be wise to set a goal to exercise seven days a week for an hour each day. Rather, start by having a goal to get moving three days a week for 10-20 minutes at a time.

Step #4 - Take Action and Record Your Progress

Your goals should have a timeline. Know what you want to achieve and by when. Next, keep a log of it all. Record your achievements. By tracking your progress, you can see visible and measurable improvement. It’s a great tool to stay motivated and focused.

Step #5 - Reassess and Reevaluate

It’s alright if some (or all) of your goals need to be altered. Give yourself grace. Don’t beat yourself up. If you find yourself stuck, take a moment to prioritize - prioritize what you most desire and how you feel you can best accomplish that.

In the end, New Year’s resolutions are a very personal ordeal. We are all different, and what works for one person will not be the solution for another.

Plus, setting new goals gets tricky when living with a rheumatic disease. You cannot overwork yourself and send your body into a huge flare-up. That’s like taking one step forward, and two steps back.

Let’s revisit that idea of beginning an exercise program. Jarring activities, such as running, are typically not a good idea for a person battling a rheumatic disease. Instead, activities such as swimming, yoga, walking, or tai chi classes tend to be a better fit. It’s all about catering to your own capabilities.

You must stop when there is pain. Avoid putting too much stress on your joints. Adjust your goals when needed. Take breaks, including mental and emotional breaks.

At Paducah Rheumatology, we want to discuss your goals with you. We can help you brainstorm a plan of action, and from there, design a personalized treatment plan to address your particular circumstances.

We are here to encourage you and celebrate together when you reach milestones.

Cheers to better health in 2022!

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