Why set goals?

No matter who you are or what you are trying to achieve goal setting is an integral part of successful planning.  Goal setting can be applied to sports performance, work career, family matters as well as recovery from an injury.  Goals give us something to aim for and when implemented correctly are effective at helping us to get what we want and where we want to get to.

What do goals have to do with Physiotherapy?

When working in a physiotherapy clinic we know that people come to us with particular goals or things they wish to achieve in mind.  This may include decreasing their pain, improving movement and function.  For others it might be to maintain results of past treatment or to improve their performance for sports.

What type of goals are there?

Goals differ greatly and whilst it is good to have big long-term goals they must be supported by small achievable goals.  These smaller goals act as milestones to help you measure your progress giving you feedback as to whether you’re heading in the right direction or not.  For example when recovering from the a serious knee injury a footballers long term goal may be to return to football however short term goals will involve managing swelling and pain then achieving levels movement and strength.  Now you change goals to improving mobility, balance then progressing to high level sports specific work. Even shorter goals than these may include performing exercises as prescribed each day/week.

Without short term goals, long term aims and aspirations seem to remain at a distance.  With the implementation of short term goals long term outcomes seem more achievable as you know the steps you have to work through to get there.

SMART goals

When making goals whether big or small they should be SMART goals.  This means that they should be constructed in a way that is:

  1. Specific – be precise about you wish to achieve
  2. Measurable – how will you know if you achieve it, what are your measures (pain levels, degrees of movement, level of strength, speed/times etc)
  3. Achievable – Set goals that keep your abilities in mind but don’t be afraid to push yourself
  4. Realistic – keep in mind the resources and time you have available to devote to pursuing your goals
  5. Time oriented – give your self a time limit to achieve this.







Goals differ greatly between people and it is important to discuss with your physiotherapist what your goals are.  This will improve the formulation of a step by step plan to help you to  achieve the results you are after.