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Setting obtainable, realistic, and maintainable goals

Pursuing my PTA specialty certification in orthopedics marked a transformative phase in my professional journey, and a significant personal goal I set for myself was to elevate my clinical decision-making abilities. In the complex realm of orthopedics, where nuanced understanding and precise judgment are paramount, I committed myself to honing the art of clinical decision-making. I delved deep into evidence-based practices, engaged in case studies, and sought mentorship to enhance my analytical skills. This personal goal was not just about acquiring knowledge but applying it judiciously in diverse clinical scenarios. As I achieved proficiency in making informed decisions tailored to individual patient needs, I not only strengthened my competence but also experienced a profound sense of fulfillment, knowing that I could navigate the intricacies of orthopedic care with confidence and precision. This accomplishment solidified my commitment to ongoing learning and the pursuit of excellence in my role as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Setting obtainable, realistic, and maintainable goals is a foundational principle for personal and professional growth. These goals serve as guiding beacons, ensuring that aspirations are not only challenging but also within reach. "Obtainable" underscores the importance of setting objectives that are feasible given one's current circumstances, resources, and capabilities. "Realistic" emphasizes the need for goals that align with one's values, skills, and time constraints, preventing the setting of unattainable benchmarks. Lastly, "maintainable" stresses the sustainability of goals over time, fostering habits that contribute to long-term success rather than fleeting achievements. This strategic approach to goal setting not only encourages a sense of accomplishment as milestones are reached but also promotes a positive and enduring impact on one's journey of self-improvement.

Whether you're aiming for career advancement, fitness milestones, or personal growth, here are some strategies to ensure your goals are achievable and sustainable. Clearly define your goals with specificity. Instead of a vague goal like "lose weight," specify "lose 10 pounds in the next three months." Ensure that your goals are measurable, allowing you to track progress. For example, instead of "exercise more," set a goal like "exercise for 30 minutes, five times a week."

Assess whether your goals are realistically attainable given your resources, time, and current circumstances. Unrealistic goals can lead to frustration and disappointment. Align your goals with your values and long-term objectives. Make sure they are meaningful and contribute to your overall well-being and aspirations.

Set a timeframe for achieving your goals. This helps create a sense of urgency and prevents procrastination. For instance, "Complete a professional certification in the next six months." Divide larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. This makes the process less overwhelming and allows for a more gradual and sustainable approach. Identify the most critical goals and focus on those first. Prioritization helps prevent spreading yourself too thin and increases the likelihood of success.

Regularly review your goals and assess your progress, it’s important to be flexible and willing to adjust your goals if circumstances change or if you encounter unexpected challenges. Instead of focusing on what you want to stop doing, concentrate on what you want to start doing; this shift in perspective can make goals more motivating.

Share your goals with someone you trust or use tools that help you stay accountable. This could involve a mentor, coach, or even a journal to track your progress. Acknowledge and celebrate small victories along the way. Recognizing your achievements, no matter how small, can boost motivation and reinforce positive behavior. Ensure that your goals align with your core values, goals that resonate with your values are more likely to be pursued with passion and commitment. It is ok to have setbacks, instead of viewing them as failures, see them as opportunities to learn and adjust your approach. Create a mental image of achieving your goals, visualization can enhance motivation and create a positive mindset.

Don't hesitate to seek guidance or support from others. Whether through a mentor, support group, or professional coach, having a support system can provide valuable insights and encouragement. By incorporating these principles into your goal-setting process, you increase the likelihood of setting obtainable, realistic, and maintainable goals that contribute to your long-term success and well-being.

In the journey of setting and achieving health and wellness goals, consulting with a skilled physical therapist can provide invaluable guidance, personalized strategies, and unwavering support to ensure a path that is not only attainable but optimized for lasting success. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our providers here at Healthwise Care Center and Physical Therapy!


Avery Levonuk, PTA

Specialty Certification in Orthopedics


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