I recently finished my first semester back in college, and in one of my Public Health classes we learned about S.M.A.R.T goals. They’ve been such a gamechanger for me, and it’s a concept that I believe can be very beneficial for those with recurring period pain and/or chronic pain.
You know that feeling where you keep trying to get up, but something knocks you back down? Maybe you’re trying to accomplish your goals, but your health conditions become obstacles. Month after month you try, but you find yourself unable to stick to a plan because of your pain. I can relate. In class, we had to do these weekly reflections based on our S.M.A.R.T goal. My goal was to workout for twenty minutes everyday, Monday through Friday. I thought it would be easy but as you can guess, it wasn’t.
I was constantly dealing with different pains and fatigue. Even when I was getting close to reaching my goal my period would come and throw things off schedule, or I would be hit with some type of joint pain. At times it was discouraging, but it also taught me to accept my situation and be proud of what I was able to accomplish.
“At times it was discouraging, but it also taught me to accept my situation and be proud of what I was able to accomplish.”
Disclaimer: Before we go any further, Amber’s Care should not replace medical advice. Please seek a doctor or medical professional if you have period pain, chronic pain, or any other health condition. This blog post is purely informational.
In the end I found that I was missing some important components of the S.M.A.R.T model that also contributed to me not meeting my goal.
S.M.A.R.T is an abbreviation for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Sensitive. You may see slight variations of this abbreviation, but the concept is still the same. Let’s look at an example.
An Example of a S.M.A.R.T Goal
Here’s an example of a goal: Samantha wants to build muscle, so she sets a goal to lift weights at the gym for 30 minutes everyday.
That’s a nice goal right? It’s specific, yes? But there are some missing parts.
Do you have joint pain? A bad back, or bad knees? How much do you actually want to lift? If you lift weights for 30 minutes on Monday, are you going to need a day to recover?
These are important questions, especially when you have a health condition. Based on your body this goal may not be realistic.
Let’s not forget that you may also need to make allowance for your period. Typically, you’re going to have lower energy during this time, so how will you accommodate for this? Maybe you need to lessen the amount of time you lift weights when you start to notice period symptoms. Maybe during the week leading up to your period you opt for stretching or Pilates. It all depends on your body. Remember, you don’t have to push yourself to a breaking point to accomplish your goals.
“You don’t have to push yourself to a breaking point to accomplish your goals.”
Now let’s look at the S.M.A.R.T version of that goal: Samantha wants to develop more upper arm strength. She notices that she has a hard time carrying boxes and opening jars. Other than a shoulder injury from when she was a kid, her doctor has not diagnosed her with any other medical conditions. She decides she’s going to lift weights at home three days a week. She’ll start off with two pound weights and by the end of the year she wants to be able to lift 5 pounds. During her period week she will opt for stretching and Pilates.
Did this example mark everything off the box? I would say so. It’s specific - Samantha knows she wants to develop more upper arm strength, and she knows her medical history. It’s measurable because she wants to go from lifting two pound weights to five pound weights. It’s achievable and realistic. She is not trying to lift a significant amount of weight overnight. It’s also time sensitive because she is giving herself until the end of the year.
Overall, it is a clear goal that offers flexibility.
S.M.A.R.T Goal Ideas
I hope thinking about goals with this perspective helps you. If you don’t know where to start, here are a couple of ideas. See if you can turn these into S.M.A.R.T goals
Do Pilates at home three times a week
Read 5 books every month
Run one mile once a week
As you can see your goals don’t have to focus only on physical health. Currently I’m trying to journal everyday because I believe this is something that improves my mental health. Think about what you need right now, and go from there.
I hope that setting S.M.A.R.T goals helps you, both physically and mentally. I have found that setting goals in this way gives me something to look forward to. When you have a lot of health conditions, it can quickly become discouraging. Aside from my faith, creating goals and accomplishing them shows me that my health conditions don’t get to dictate how I choose to live my life. There are certain things that I may never get to do, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have goals and dreams. Setting S.M.A.R.T goals has shown me that I am more capable than I think.
Leave a comment below if this helped you, and let us know what goal you’re thinking of setting! P.S: If you are feeling down and discouraged because of your period, check out our period care box. It is not a cure for all of your troubles, but it can provide some much needed comfort and encouragement.