Little victories: motivation for managing arthritis

When it comes to taking charge of managing your arthritis, it's important to have a weekly plan with simple and attainable goals that you can easily measure and monitor. However, some things don't always work out precisely the way you'd like. In all cases, adjustments need to to be made every step of the way.

Little victories: motivation for managing arthritis

Adjust your action plan

If at first you don't succeed, maybe it's time to redo your plan. Perhaps your short-term goals are too ambitious and you need to scale back or allot yourself more time for completing them. With progress points, you can gauge whether your take-charge plan needs to be adjusted.

If one of your progress points called for losing one pound last week and you lost only half a pound, perhaps you need to intensify your actions.

If you lost more than a pound, maybe you're working too hard and need to moderate your actions.

Either way, your progress point has "told" you that you need to fine-tune your action plan.

Building on your success

In a way, building on success is the secret to gaining control over your arthritis. The take-charge approach hinges on achieving small successes week by week — until you arrive at an ultimate goal that may at first have seemed out of reach.

This time-tested formula helps explain why people who develop a successful plan for themselves tend to stick with it. The success you achieve one week has a beneficial effect not only on your joints but also on your attitude — helping you build confidence in your ability to manage your disease and overcome its limitations.

Little victories

Build rewards into your plan, so that obtaining those rewards requires that you successfully complete an action. For example, if you like to buy your daily newspaper on your lunch hour, design a daily lunch-hour walk that takes you past a newsstand where you can pick up a copy of your favourite newspaper or magazine. That way, you are rewarding yourself for successfully completing that daily walk.

A final suggestion: Give yourself some time off for good behaviour. Focusing on your arthritis every day may seem praiseworthy, but it can contribute to burnout. You'll have a much greater chance of reaching your goals if you give yourself a day or two off every week.

So, whether you're continuing with an existing take charge plan or starting one up, keep this information in mind to help keep you motivated.

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