Setting SMART Recovery Goals

Thanks to everyone who joined us for session one of our Next Step Forward Program. For anyone that missed this session you can still catch the replay when you register as a member on our site.

We covered SMART Goals setting tips in the first session. I wanted to provide you with a few more examples on how to apply this principle when you begin to identify or update your own goals.

To check if your goals are SMART, follow this guide:


The reason for being specific is to uncover your true “why”, or ultimate goal as well as the reasons behind it. During your stroke recovery you may have gained weight. A goal to lose 10 pounds, for example, is specific, but let’s investigate why losing 10 pounds is the right goal to begin with. If you had more energy from being lighter and could move your extremities easier to exercise them more, would that be more appealing than what the scale reads? Perhaps it is not so much the number (10 pounds) but the increased energy and good feeling that would come from the process in attempting to lose the weight. So, your why for weight loss may really be to make it easier to move your body to exercise for 15 more minutes daily. You may find that the goal itself is now completely different from what it started out to be.


If your goal is to “walk better”, it will be difficult to assess when you have actually reached your goal unless you set measurable benchmarks to provide you with specific feedback (daily, weekly or monthly) on your progress. Create a log or movie of your walking progress and record the number of minutes walked each day, days walked per week, as well as distance traveled and any assistive devices needed.* Record your mood and energy level to help remind you how you felt when you reached a new walking level or hit a plateau. If you cannot measure a goal, you do not know what is working and cannot adjust what you are doing.


How are you going to reach your goal? Planning action steps will provide the blueprint to the end goal. To “walk better”, what specific walking workout is best for you? How often? Which strength and flexibility exercises should be performed for which muscles? What foods would provide the best energy for your workouts? The action steps provide the answers to your unique questions and will lead you toward your ultimate goal. Don’t overlook the process of recording action steps. Develop 5 to 8 small action steps to help lead you in the right direction towards your ultimate goal.


Keep your goals within the realm of possibility, or you will get discouraged. Let’s go back to the weight loss goal again of losing 10 pounds. If you give yourself one week to lose the weight it is not only unrealistic but could be potentially dangerous. Believe you can achieve but be flexible in the process. If you are attempting to attain a rehabilitation goal in a short time frame, you will only increase the level of stress and possibly lose sight of why you started the goal process.

Time Frame

Set a time frame for your goal. Write a goal down on paper and put it on your calendar and also in an additional visible location where you can see it daily. Post it to your refrigerator, computer screen or bathroom mirror, or record this goal date in your goal movie and play it often.* You need to be reminded daily of your commitments and actions. Without a time frame, your goal will only be a wish. It is certainly OK to keep the faith and wish, but record a timeline to help you keep the focus too. Don’t just wish for it, live for it! Hope is not a plan….so start planning today! We provided a wellness worbook for you to use to record your SMART Goals.

Get Real- Find Your Why !

Additional Tips to Plan for Your Success:

Get support:

  • Find a proven path from a mentor, coach or stroke survivor who has gotten the results you desire and can prove it and/or teach it to you. Use the support we are providing within this community and throughout the course using the action steps in our wellness toolkit. You have support built in with TEAM EnableUs !

Film Your Progress: The benefits of a movie dedicated to stroke recovery:

  • Keeps track of success and failure by recording progress

  • Helps you view before/after results of therapies or stroke recovery tools

  • Helps motivate and increase adherence to goals

  • Provides valuable record to show your doctors, therapists, and yes perhaps even your health insurance provider, as they follow and plan your recovery.

Additional Reason for the Filming: Subconscious mind/your emotional side thinks in pictures. Turn your goal into a success movie to help motivate you!

Can You Meet Your Goal? Absolutely, if you're determined and SMART!

Mike and I look forward to hearing about your goals and having you join us for the next session!