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Goal Setting to Guide Your Treatment Plan and Maximize Physiotherapy Outcomes

As physiotherapists, our job is to help you #keepmoving and doing the things you love. From the first assessment, we want to make sure that we are on the same page and establish clear goals with you to guide the treatment process. Goal setting is an integral part of a treatment plan and maximizing physiotherapy outcomes.

Goal setting can be challenging, not to mention intimidating to take the first step. Some questions to ask might be:

  • What is my injury holding me back from?

  • If I was feeling 100%, what would I be doing?

  • Can I become faster/stronger/more efficient at my chosen sport or activity?

  • What are the steps to get me from where I am now to where I want to be?

Often, we think of goals as a timeline, breaking them down into short-term (or process) and long-term (or outcome) goals. Process goals can serve as checkpoints for outcome goals. They help to keep us on track, stay motivated, and make consistent choices in the pursuit of our long-term goals.

In the physiotherapy setting, a process goal could be to complete your physiotherapy exercises 4 times per week to improve your mobility and strength of your upper and middle back. The outcome goal could be to complete a golf round of 18 holes without back pain. Here’s another example: the process goal is to strengthen your hips in single-leg movements with the outcome goal of running your best 10-kilometre time. The fun begins when there are links between your physiotherapy treatment, home exercises, and process goals, and you start to see progress towards your outcome goal(s).

Goal setting is an important driver for motivation. Big goals do not happen overnight; they can require daily practice and commitment to small steps, that overtime result in the larger goal. We are all guilty of being impatient or enjoying the bliss of instant gratification. By developing a plan and making conscious action steps in the direction of our goals, we can remain clear in our vision and commitment to putting in the work.

Developing a plan and committing to a goal is a big step – rehabilitation after an injury can feel like a full-time job! There is no question that there will be less resistance to our action steps when the ‘WHY’ behind the goal resonates with us. What is your WHY for doing the things you love to do? Evaluate if you are on track or need help getting back on the path, or even to find a new path! One of the joys of goal setting is that it can be fluid and ever-changing. Need some help navigating your injury, getting stronger, or reaching your goals? Book with us and let’s all #keepmoving!

Mikaela Barnes has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Master of Physical Therapy, both at Western University. Mikaela is passionate about understanding human movement, promoting body awareness, and establishing efficient motor patterns. Book with Mikaela today.


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