Ways to Set & Keep Goals While Living with Parkinson’s
Living with Parkinson’s can make setting and keeping goals a challenge. It’s hard to know what each day will bring when you’re living with a disease that has chronic and/or progressive symptoms.
However, symptom management for Parkinson’s depends on maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and creating a good support network—all things that can be supported by setting and keeping goals. The New Year is a great time to assess what goals you have and how you can achieve them realistically while living with Parkinson’s.
Here are our top tips for setting and keeping goals while living with Parkinson’s:
Tip #1: Set Realistic Goals
Coming to terms with doing things differently is often one of the hardest parts of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Plan for things to take longer than they used to and brace yourself for setbacks. There will be days when you just can’t exercise vigorously, or when cooking a full plant-based meal from scratch just isn’t an option. As you’re setting your goal, think about what you can achieve, even on a bad day.
For example, you might set a goal to do some form of movement (even if it’s stretching on the couch!) rather than a goal to go to the gym and get a full workout every day. You know yourself and your symptoms best!
Tip #2: Keep Your Goals Time Bound
Take a moment to jot down all the steps needed to get to your goal. For example, if you have a goal of eating healthier, do you need to get a new pan? Organize your fridge? Set up a grocery delivery service? Write it all out.
Then think about what you can realistically do today. What about this week? How about this month? Another popular way to set and keep goals is to create a 30/60/90 plan, where you define what you’ll do in 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. Do what works for you!
Tip #3: Define Your Barriers & Create Accountability
Once you’ve defined a realistic goal and figured out the necessary steps to achieving it, take some time to think about what will stop you. If your goal is getting out of the house at least once a week to do something fun, what will you do if you don’t have transportation? What will you do if the weather is bad?
Once you define your barriers and what you’ll do to keep your goal, think about who you can call on to help you. Maybe it’s a friend, a care partner, someone else you know living with Parkinson’s. Text or call that person and tell them your plan and how they can help you stick to it!
Tip #4: Track Your Progress
Setting and keeping a goal can be hard if you’re not seeing progress. Think about ways you can keep track of your wins! A star on the calendar, a sticker chart, a reward, a little dance party every time you reach a goal…there are endless ways to celebrate the small milestones you’ve defined that you need to meet to keep your goal. It may feel silly at first, but seeing all the days you have gone to the gym on a day you’re not feeling up for it can help remind you that you are much closer to your overall goal than you were before and keep you motivated.
Tip #5: Share Your Success
If you’ve set and kept a goal while living with Parkinson’s, we’d love to hear from you! What did you do to make it happen? Sharing your story helps inspire others and create community. And we’d love to celebrate you! Setting and keeping goals while living with Parkinson’s is hard work.