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Writing Your Best Physical Goals: Identifying Your North Star

Updated: Sep 22, 2021


Every physical therapy session begins with the identification of goals. Every workout program should too. Goals cannot come from anyone else- they must originate within you.

We can have lofty goals, or more earth bound goals- what is really important is to have an emotional tie into the goal (we will look at hope in subsequent weeks)- you must choose a goal that makes your heart sing.

Your goal should be like a north star- guiding you in the direction of your truest heart’s desire.

Over the course of your work, you will be asked to try a novel approach. This can be disorientating at best, it is truly challenging- and you will need the hopefulness that you associate with your fulfilled goal so that you can stay on track.


I also recognize that it can be scary to hope- to go for something as adults after failure and pain can be so tough. But really, what are our options? Not going for things, not having hope feels too limiting. I would rather fail trying to do what I love, than never try at all.


Pain reduction:

It is not enough of a goal to simply reduce pain. I like to prompt folks, if your pain was less, what would you do? We need to move beyond the goal of simply existing- to thriving and fulfilling our deepest desire.


A Check In: This is a suggestion from Selma Lewis, PhD, Psychotherapist

When you are creating a goal, it is really important to check in with a trusted friend. You can ask your friend, what they think about this goal for you? If it seems like it would be in your best interest.


I had never thought of a check in, but I can see how this practice, with a trusted person you can really be vulnerable with, would be so helpful for crafting a meaningful goal. If you have a medical condition, you can always share your goal with a specialist provider in the field. They may have other clients who were able to achieve what you hope to.


I recently disclosed my High Sierra trail goal to a friend of a friend, but then quickly lamented that I had an autoimmune issue, and thalassemia (congenital low O2 and iron).

The woman I was speaking with quickly told me about a friend of hers, who had had a lung transplant who had just successfully completed the same hike! Talk about motivation!


Think about your big goal, and think about a time frame to realistically achieve it.

For instance, here are my current long term physical goals:


I will successfully backpack the high sierra trail without injuries by 2026

By 2027 I will surf 3x a week, most weeks


You are the artist of your true north here.

When we bring in insight, we can start to develop a game plan to bridge where we currently are, with where we would like to go (similar to using a road map to plan a destination).


And be sure (to enhance your accountability) to share your beautiful goals with someone you love and trust if you are so inclined. They can check in with you about it at agreed upon intervals.


Happy Dreaming!

Trina






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