Setting goals can be overwhelming, unrealistic, scary, and somtimes we allow the feelings stop us from working towards the goals we dream of.

Setting the goal is the easy part, it is the planning that takes the time, energy, determination, and dedication.

Those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia have difficulty setting, planning and implementing goals.  Why?  We forget that the way we used to do a task, is no longer the way that will work for us. 

With any goal, the first thing to do is to write a plan, set the steps needed to attain the goal.  Details are needed, the steps need steps, and a timeline to complete each task. 

Fibromyalgia allows us to learn, experience, and test new ways, new possibilities, think outside the box of how to do a task that once was very easy for us.

When setting a goal, a person must first come to terms with the simple fact that the steps may be more, and the timeline may be longer.  Frustrating, yes, at first.  The sooner that we are able to accept this fact, the easier it is for one to move on. 

The second key to setting a goal, when diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, is to come to terms with the type of goal you are setting.  A goal for you now, may have been a daily chore you were able to do without thinking before.  For example, you need milk, before you would fit it into your day, pick it up when you could, now you have to plan it out.  What is involved, getting dressed, walking to the car, driving to the store, going into the store, picking it up the milk, waiting in line, getting back into the car, driving home, walking inside, putting the milk in the fridge, and yes the best part laying down on the couch.  No matter the goal, it is an important part of your life, and without the small you cant reach the big.

When setting a goal, don't set too many at once, work with one or two, that way you do not feel overwhelmed and are less likely to give up.  Start with something small, most with Fibromyalgia start with either diet or exercise.  Let me work with exercise, as I find this is the most common goal people are unable to complete.  I picked running, many pick swimming, or yoga. 

1. Pick the form of exercise that will work best for you, that you will enjoy the most, and offer the most benefit with the least hinderance.

2.  Choose a final goal.  Be able to do 4 classes of Yoga a week, Swim 100 laps, or run 5k.  Choose a final outcome.

3.  Choose the date that you would like to complete this goal.  The key to choosing the date, pretend you are a 400lb person, who has been in a car accident, and has never exercised a day in their life.  That way you are more likely to reach a realistic date.

4.  Set the next steps.  This takes some research.  If you are swimming, you need to find the closest pool available to you (if you are not one of the lucky ones with a pool in their backyard).  Choose a swim that offers adult only, women only, and even senior only (tell them your limitation most will allow you to join these groups).  If you are choosing Yoga, find a rehabilitative class, this will allow you to have poses that are modified for people with Chronic Pain or disabilities.  Some areas also offer a senior class, and will also let you join.

5.  Setting the steps.  Start with one class per week, pick a class that fits the schedule of your body.  Pick a time where your body is at its optimal.  Swimming if you are able to complete one lap be happy and just do one lap.  Your body is building its energy back up, do not push it, even if you think you can do more.  Also remember, you have spent energy travelling to the pool and will spend energy travelling back.  The key is pace, frustrating, but pacing is very important.  Yoga classes start with one class a week, and speak to the Yoga Instructor prior.  Explain that you do have Fibromyalgia, and may just go into the childs pose, may get up and leave as you have to, and for many (I was one of them, still am) tell them to ask you for permission before they touch you to correct your positions. 

6. Next step should be to set up rest time.  You have planned to start the exercise, and now you have to plan for your bodies reaction.  Have the time after you finish the exercise planned.  Have a movie waiting for you, have a snack or meal ready that you can just heat up.  This will allow you to relax and conserve energy when you may not have it.

7.  The next steps should be planned tentatively but know that it can be changed depending how your body reacts.  Decide at the beggining how you want to increase your exercise.  After one week increase to 2 laps, on the third week 3 laps.   For Yoga after a month increase to two classes, or a full class.  Should you have to delay one week no big deal, but you are working towards a goal.

Remember on a good day, when you are feeling amazing, and think you are like your old self, and this will happen eventually, do not overdo it.  If you have been doing 3 yoga classes a week, and feel like you can do one more becuase you are having a good day, do not do the extra class, nine out of ten times it will cause a flare up.

Please email me if you would like a free goal setting print out.

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