Physical Activity Goal Setting- A Guide for Adults Living with a Disability
Before we get into physical activity goal setting, be sure to review the activity guidelines for persons with a disability. You can find the World Health Organization’s guidelines here. You can also visit the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) website to find more disability-specific guidelines.
Now that you have reviewed the guidelines, let’s talk about goal setting related to increasing your physical activity, and meeting (or getting closer to meeting) the guidelines that are appropriate for you!
It’s difficult to think about changing your future behaviour without knowing what your current behaviour is. Reflect on what your current behaviour is like, what physical activities you do, and on average, how many days a week you are active.
Set a SMART Goal
Now start by thinking of a SMART goal. Remember, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Perhaps a goal of yours is to be active one more day a week than you usually are, go for a walk/wheel twice a week, or sneak in some bodyweight exercises while you watch TV. Whatever is it, be sure you think about the “W’s”: Who is involved? What do I want to accomplish? Where will I do it? When do I want to do it? Why do I want to achieve this goal?
Make an Action Plan
Now that you have a SMART goal, let’s think about how you would put your goal into action. A good action plan should include your planned activity type, location, time and duration, and the intensity. The plan should have all the details in place so that when you’re ready to be active, you already know what you’re going to do. A good way to approach an action plan is to create a day-by-day plan for physical activity at the beginning of the week, and be sure to write it down!
Share your goals and your action plans with a friend (or in the Stronger Together app) and ask them to check in with you. Being accountable to someone else can help you be honest with yourself. You can also think about identifying yourself as a role model. Your own physical activity behaviour may be a positive example to others around you!
Celebrate your Success
Part of staying motivated is making sure you take the time to celebrate your achievements. Whether they are big or small, try to treat yourself with a reward for each milestone. Share your accomplishments with family, friends, and your Curatio network. Give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge all of the hard work you’ve done and how far you’ve come!
Modify & Make New Plans
Over time, and as you get accustomed to being more active, you may want to make your goals more difficult so that you are continually challenged. You can modify your goals by changing a component of an existing goal (such as the type or duration of activity). You can also create an entirely new goal.
We hope these goal setting and action planning tips will help you make a physical activity plan that works for you!
Are you looking for resources during COVID-19? Do you need support to get active?
Start This Year Stronger Together! Access free, in-app health coaching and expert programs about physical activity for adults living with physical disabilities. Connect with peer-to-peer support while helping improve the quality of care for people in Canada who are living with/supporting someone with a physical disability. By joining our Stronger Together community, you’ll have virtual health support in the palm of your hand this winter while learning more about what you can do to improve your health and wellness. Follow along with daily discussions, Q&A with experts, peer insights and take part in a personalized program just for you! Spots are limited so join here now!
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology—Home. (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2021, from https://www.csep.ca/home
Physical activity guidelines, World Health Organization (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2021, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity