As you begin to build your life after a Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis, setting clear personal goals then acting on them can help you live well. Empower yourself by thinking about what is most meaningful to you, then work those activities into your routine. Don’t try to do everything at once. Focus your energy where it best serves you.
Begin by setting a viable, realistic goal. Be specific. Mastering a short-term aspiration can be key to enduring success. One victory can spur the next.
Rather than saying: “I’m going to learn more about Parkinson’s,” be precise; instead commit to reading a free educational PD book.
Take Doable Steps
Outline an action plan based on your goal, then take small, steady moves toward achievement.
For example, one of your goals might be to connect with others living with PD. Discover what support groups are available in your area as your first step. Then plan to attend a meeting.
Connecting with family and friends over your goal can help you stay on-task and inspired. Those trying to become more active, for example, can ask an active friend or relative for encouragement.
Maybe you have a child or neighbor who runs twice a week. Ask them to text you whenever they head out, encouraging you to run that day, too.
Ask yourself why you want to accomplish this goal. Understanding how your aim fits into the big picture may keep you motivated. Make sure your target ties into what really matters to you.
For example, a goal like the one above, exercising with someone you care about, can also help you begin opening the lines of communication and building a support network, steps that foster emotional well-being.
Concentrate on one goal at a time and set a specific time for when you’d like to complete the goal.
For example, if you want to attend an exercise class, make your goal to go to the class scheduled for this month. Or if you’d like to improve your sleep, maybe your goal can be to “unplug” from electronic devices an hour before bedtime for one week.
Change can be hard. Reward yourself when you’ve mastered a challenge. One success can help lead you on to your next achievement, helping you continue doing the things you love and care about most.
To find answers to your PD questions, support groups and other resources in your area, contact our free Helpline, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or Helpline@Parkinson.org