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Emergency Department

Get Better Together – is it for you?

Do you try and set goals and can’t seem to follow through with them? Is your list of things you should be doing just getting longer? Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think about the changes we want to make or the activities we want to accomplish. The list seems too big to work on all at once, making it difficult to start.

Setting yourself goals or learning how to create action plans that will help you achieve those goals is an important part of life. Making action plans allows us to break down our activities into smaller, more doable steps.

When deciding on an Action Plan, there are a few key things you need to consider for it to succeed:

  • First and foremost, the action you are planning needs to be something YOU want to do or have decided to do. Not something someone else thinks you should do.
  • Second, make sure that the action you have chosen is ACHIEVABLE. If you are new to action planning, it’s a good idea to start with something that can be achieved within the next week.
  • Third, make sure the action you have decided on is ACTION-SPECIFIC. For example, losing weight is not action-specific; it’s a result of an action. Reducing the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages from 6 to 3 in a week is action specific.

Next, you need to answer the following questions:

  • What? What are you going to do (specific action)
  • How much? This is measuring the time, distance or amount
  • When? Which day of the week or time of the day works best to complete the action
  • How often? This is the number of times you will carry out the activity in a week. When thinking about this one, try to avoid saying every day. Things come up, and plans change. It is better to underestimate and feel like you’ve succeeded if you do more than planned than to feel like you’ve failed if you don’t reach your lofty goals.

The final step to creating a successful action plan

Rate your confidence level on a scale of 0-10. 0 being not at all confident I can achieve this, and 10 being totally sure and confident the plan will be fully completed. It is recommended that if your confidence level is below 7, you should have a look at what barriers are preventing you from feeling more confident and consider reworking the action plan. Setting realistic and achievable action plans is key to becoming a better self-manager. It’s important that you succeed!

Action planning is one of the many skills discussed and practiced in the Get Better Together program and is seen as the most important self-management tool. If you are living with a chronic health condition and want to learn more about becoming a better self-manager, consider signing up for this program. Participants will work to build the confidence needed to better manage their health through group support and discussion of topics such as healthy eating, physical activity, communication and pain management. This program is offered both in-person and virtual across PMH.

For more information, please contact Roslyn Cullen at [email protected] or call our Health Promotion toll-fee line at 1-877-509-7852.

(Information for this article was taken from The Chronic Disease Self-Management Workshop developed by The Self-Management Resource Center – Stanford University.)

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