SMART Goals and Chronic Pain: What are your goals?

Posted by Rachel, Volunteer Mentor @rwinney, Nov 19, 2021

How often do you think you can't do something because of pain?

I struggled with this because I set unrealistic expectations. I based my expectations on what I used to be prior to living in chronic pain. That was my A life; overachiever, perfectionist, multitasker. During the onset of chronic pain, and time of instability, denial and confusion, I lived my B life. Presently, I'm doing my best and living my C life which is stable, moderate and flexible. Learning how to use SMART goals helped me attain direction in my C life and gave organization to guide me towards succeeding and appreciating my small wins.

How have you helped to manage chronic pain using SMART goals? What have your small but satisfying wins been?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Chronic Pain group.


"The new normal" is a lot harder than I ever would have thought it would be. I struggle now with learning to accept and keep it real with myself. Of course, I never "really" believed I could be one of those people. And here I am. My weak social skill is in part being male and burdened by the macho male ego and training, also I did not have any real understanding of being human and having close friends and family. The examples we see or did not in my case. I am sure would have shown me more of what life is like as we change and age. I am sure it would have been helpful, and I would have been more compassionate for it. Another way where family is really important. The knowledge and love learned directly or indirectly and hopefully more positive than not, would have provided insight into aging gracefully and a big one for me feeling safe and comfortable with others and what they may be truly thinking about a person such as I am now. Sick, lame and lazy I am not just in pain and limited.

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@betterway I'm a keep it real kind of person too. I hope you don't mind me keeping it real with you.

In what ways do you think you can help yourself get out of your own pity party? In what ways do you think you can evolve and grow as a person to overcome your emotional and social obstacles?

Here is info about CBT if you have not yet explored it:


@sueinmn Hi, Sue, what I like is that you recognized you push/crashed and weren't SMART. Paying the price with some down days first, but I know you'll get right back on that moderation wagon again.

I keep a daily planner to structure my days and hold myself accountable to moderate and pace. I literally schedule meals and rest breaks. I mess up too and push/crash, because I'm human, but then take a bright orange highlighter to my daily planner and highlight where I went wrong. Almost like, CAUTION!

The beauty is that we can always reset and restart and tell ourselves it's ok. Giving grace is often what we do for others, but not always so much for ourselves.

I like "hire out"! If you can afford it, I say do it. It's all about choosing our battles, right?

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I am coming to love "hire out". Our gift this year , in lieu of things, to our daughter and her family is biweekly house cleaning. They are grateful.

Today, with the littles, I had them do as much food prep, helping and cleaning as we could. And after lunch, everyone rested, either napping or having quiet time. What a lovely day – no meltdowns until supper!

For the first time, we have hired out remodeling, exterior house washing and tree trimming. We feel like it is worth stretching our budget to afford it.

Tomorrow we will relax by doing low key hanging out with friends. Sunday we will rest, and dine out with my brother and sister-in-law instead of entertaining here, so no cleaning or cooking.

Sometimes, I think resetting our personal expectations is great all around, as we begin to accept others as well.

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