Hope and Inspiration Through Goal Setting

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Jane Martin

Jane Martin, BA, LRT, CRT is the Assistant Director of Education for the COPD Foundation. She leads the development and creation of the Foundation’s extensive library of patient educational materials and oversees the online catalogue. As a member of the COPD Foundation’s Care Delivery Team, she assists in implementing special projects and shares her years of expertise as a respiratory therapist through writing for both patients and healthcare providers.

Hope and Inspiration Through Goal Setting

November is COPD Awareness month – a great time to remind yourself that it is possible to have control over your breathing – and your life – with COPD! The theme this year is Hope and Inspiration. And what better way to celebrate this than to set one or more goals, things you want to accomplish in spite of COPD.

What matters most to you?

It’s not always easy to set a goal when you have a chronic disease, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try! It’s important that these goals are personal. In other words, they are all about what you want to do to either keep, or improve, your quality of life. For example, it might mean a lot to you to be able to get out to the coffee shop and meet with your friends. For another person, that may have no special meaning at all. Ask yourself, “What matters most to me? What is it that I want to do?” Doing this will help you get started on thinking about your goals.

Although you might have many concerns similar to your friends with COPD, you’re not exactly like any one of them. You are unique unto yourself, so be careful to not compare yourself with your friends and acquaintances with COPD.

When it comes to goals, you may be thinking of something like, “I want to walk at my own pace in a 5k next year,” or “I want to be able to walk from my living room to my kitchen without gasping for breath.” Depending on your individual situation, both of these – and everything in between – are worthy goals.

Another approach is to set a long-term goal, “I want to attend my 11-year-old granddaughter’s high school graduation” or, “I’ve always wanted to learn to oil paint. My goal is to sign up for a class that begins next fall.”

Setting a goal

In order to have the best chance possible of achieving your goal, it should be written down and it should be specific. Here’s a guideline for writing a goal:

Who will do what, how well, by when? Here’s an example:

  • Who: I
  • Will do what: be able to walk around the block
  • How well: with control over my breathing
  • By when: on the first day of spring

Telling someone

Another aspect of setting a goal is accountability. You are less likely to stop working towards a goal, or give up on it if you tell somebody about it. This could be anybody of your choosing, but here are some guidelines. It should be somebody who can give encouragement or suggestions but won’t criticize you, somebody who has some understanding about the limitations brought on by COPD. You can find those folks right here, on COPD360social! You could also share it with a friend in your breathing support group, Harmonics for Health group, or pulmonary rehab class. You might share it with a healthcare professional who helps you manage your COPD or a family member or caregiver who is aware of your limitations.

A lot of people can help you as you fight the good fight against COPD. But they can't do it for you! They can advise and can cheer from the sidelines. But they cannot do the exercises for you, they cannot take your medicines for you, and they certainly cannot breathe for you! You are the one who must be responsible for your accomplishments in COPD management. So, think about setting one or more COPD Awareness Month 2018 goals. Setting a goal can give you hope. Sharing your goal with others can help them be inspired.

We’d love you to share your goal(s) with your friends in this online community and keep us updated on how it’s going! Join the COPD Foundation for a patient goal setting webinar on Thursday, November 1st from 2:00pm-3:00pm EST. To register, and learn more about the webinar click here!

8 Comments



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  • Great Article! Thank you for your insight Jane!
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  • Well said Jane. I agree with Tracie. Great Article!

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  • Love it what matter way with living with COPD making a goal i am going to think on that and I will set some goals I so love your writings
    ...

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  • Great article, I did exactly that, and from once around the block to 5+ miles a day. I have many goals set everyday in my phone and meet those goals.
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  • Thanks Jane for the encouragement. I have done rehab and enjoyed your books. I work hard at following my pulmonologists suggestions, and staying well. I attend classes at my local YMCA . Yoga, water aerobics Walk on tread mill, use weight machines. Have met my goal at weight watchers.
    I appreciate all of your encouraging words. Staying hopeful. 🌞
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  • Thanks Jane. I remember those days so well. Smile.
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  • So many wonderful ideas and suggestions. I'm 70 years old and have never been a goal setter. Perhaps today is a good day to begin.
    Thank you Jane.

    Reply

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