Before you learn new ways to manage JIA, it is important to set some goals for yourself. Learn about the S.M.A.R.T. method and how it can be used to set achievable goals.
• It is important to create goals that are realistic and achievable. Setting unrealistic goals can be frustrating.
• An easy way to create a goal is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. method.
• S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and have a Time frame for when you hope to achieve them.
Before you learn new ways to manage JIA, it is important to set some goals for yourself. Each person may have different goals for what they would like to see happen with their JIA or other aspects of their life, such as school or sports. A goal is something that is important to you that you want to have happen or want to accomplish.
Some common goals may include:
• having less pain or morning stiffness
• spending more time with friends and family
• being able to do more things to help your family
• getting to school on time in the morning
• not letting JIA get in the way of things you want to do.
It is important that your goals be realistic and achievable for you. Setting unrealistic goals can be frustrating when you realize you cannot meet them. For example, participating in this program will not make the JIA completely go away; this is an unrealistic goal. See the pointers below for help on setting goals and making them realistic.
Setting goals for JIA management: Getting started
An easy way to create goals is to follow the S.M.A.R.T. method. Each letter stands for a key element to creating achievable goals. Here’s how it works:
• Make them Specific. A specific goal has a greater chance of being achieved than a general one.
• Make them Measurable, so that you can easily tell if you have reached your goal. To know if your goal is measurable, ask questions like “How many?” “How much?” or “When will this be accomplished?”
• Make them Achievable by starting with a small goal and then building on it. This will help increase your chances of sticking with the goal. You can achieve almost any goal you set when you plan your steps wisely and give yourself enough time to carry out those steps.
• Make them Realistic for your lifestyle. Goals should be possible or realistic, but they should also push you. For example, going wilderness camping might be unrealistic especially when you have a flare-up in your arthritis. However, going on a picnic with your friends might be more realistic.
• Make a Time frame for when you hope to achieve your goal. By having a date to work towards, you will be more likely to put effort into achieving your goals.
Here is an example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:
“I will have a hot shower in the morning three times a week to reduce my morning stiffness. I hope to achieve this goal in the next month. If I can manage this in my schedule and it is helpful, I will then increase it to four times per week.”
As you can see, this is one specific goal. You can measure it because you can keep track of how many days per week you practice the relaxation strategy. It starts small and then builds from three days to four days per week. It is hopefully a realistic goal for your schedule, and there is a time frame of one month to make this goal a part of your weekly routine.
What are your goals for managing JIA?
Try to think of three goals that you would like to work towards to improve your management of JIA during this program.
Are your goals S.M.A.R.T. goals?