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Goal Setting Exercise

Follow these simple steps below to determine your own personal and health related goals. You may also download this page in PDF format, for your convenience.

First — decide that you really want to get better

This means you must first understand that you will receive great pleasure from following through with your decision and also that there will be great physical, emotional and spiritual pain if you do not follow through.

To help you determine this, please make a list of at least 10 reasons you must follow through to get the pleasure of healthy joints. You need at least 10 to help you really commit.

Example: I must follow through on my commitment to healthier joints because I will receive the following pleasurable benefits:

  1. I will be able to walk to the mailbox without pain.
  2. I will be able to complete my entire shopping list.
  3. I will be able to bowl a complete game without pain.
  4. I will be able to travel to anywhere I want without having to worry if my joints will make it.
  5. I will be able to play with my grandchildren without telling them to stop.
  6. I will be able to sleep restfully throughout the night.
  7. I will be able to cut my own lawn instead of paying that neighbor boy too much.
  8. I will be able to park wherever I want without worrying about using a handicapped space.
  9. I will be able to go out and enjoy myself without wondering if I am going to be in pain.
  10. I will be happier with my current life and will look forward to tomorrow.

Exercise 1:

Now write down your own reasons why you must follow through on your commitment to healthier joints to receive the following pleasurable benefits.

Exercise 2:

Now write down 10 reasons why you must follow through on your commitment to healthier joints to avoid the continual pain of arthritis.


  1. I will avoid the embarrassment of canceling a family visit because I know my joints will ache.
  2. I will avoid having to rely on others to transport me.
  3. I will not have to tell others to go on ahead while I sit and rest.
  4. I will avoid the pain at night that keeps me awake and tired.
  5. I will avoid hiding my embarrassing limp.
  6. I will avoid taking that awful medication that upsets my stomach.
  7. I will not have to struggle to get dressed.
  8. I will avoid feeling depressed and helpless.
  9. I will avoid the feeling of being left out because my joints ache.
  10. I will avoid being classified as being sick because I am truly healthy.

Exercise 3:

Now, in one sentence write down what you have decided to do about your health.


I have decided to avoid the embarrassment, pain and depression of arthritis and I have decided to take charge of my own health and enjoy the pleasure of being pain free with more independence, energy and happiness.

I have decided that...

Second — discard your old beliefs about your arthritis

A belief is a conviction or opinion you may have about your arthritis. Some of these beliefs may be helpful but others may actually be harmful. First we should identify some beliefs you may have that are harmful and than eliminate these. However, we should also identify some of your beliefs that can be beneficial.

Exercise 4:

Let's identify some beliefs you may have that are harmful to your recovery. Beliefs are easy identified by starting the sentence with "I believe".

Some examples of harmful beliefs include: "I believe that my mother had bad joints thus I am doomed to have arthritis no matter what I do.", or "I believe that I exercise is useless and will hurt my joints although I know it is not true."

Now make a list of your harmful beliefs.

Exercise 5:

Look through the entire list of harmful beliefs you've just written down and think how you can eliminate each belief with a new and empowering healthy belief.


For the harmful belief of, "I believe that my mother had bad joints thus I am doomed to have arthritis", I will substitute, "I believe and know that osteoarthritis is rarely inherited and there are new and improved methods to help me recover from my arthritis that my mother never had."

Now, for each harmful belief that you wrote down in Exercise 4, substitute it with a new empowering and healthy belief.

Third — discover your strengths & tools to reach your goals

Everyone, no matter who you are, has some strengths that you have stored somewhere. It is human nature to call only upon the strengths you need to keep you at your status quo. However, everyone can recall a time in their life when they suddenly discovered some talents or strengths that you never thought you had. The purpose of this section is to call upon these strengths to recover from your arthritis.

To understand and find your strengths it is always wise to call upon your own stories of success in your life and learn from them. Thus...

Exercise 6:

Write down some a short story on how you used your own strengths and tools to solve a problem and turn a hopeless situation into a success story.


I was the worst swimmer in the pool. I would always come in last place for two years until I decided that I must avoid the embarrassment of continually losing out on the pleasure of winning and doing my best. I thought I didn't have the skills or the strength to succeed but I eliminate these old beliefs and substituted my new empowering beliefs. I developed a written plan in my journal on how I would improve myself each day. I worked on specific skills each day to improve my swimming. I read everything I could on swimming and applied my knowledge and skills with determination to improve each and every day. With this plan, I was able to make measurable improvements and set school and pools records within just two years.

Now write down your own success story.

Exercise 7:

Review the story your wrote down in Exercise 6, and look for your specific strengths and tools you used to solve your problem. Next, write down some of your strengths found in this story.

Fourth — rediscover yourself

Now that you have a firm grip on your plan to recover from arthritis, write down a simple sentence of how you now feel. Refer to this section often to rediscover how you feel when you have a clear vision of your healthy state of mind, body and spirit.

Exercise 8:

Write down a simple sentence of how you feel now that you have a firm grip on your plan to recover from arthritis.

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