Setting Goals for Better Arthritis Management

Having goals can help you manage your arthritis and get you back on track.

If you have arthritis, setting meaningful goals—and making an action plan to achieve them—can help you get back to doing the things you love to do. For you. For your family. And for your friends.

A great way to achieve the meaningful goals you set for yourself is to share them with your doctor. Your doctor can review your goals and recommend steps to take toward achieving them, like exercising more or changing your medications. A treatment plan that incorporates meaningful goals can help you feel better emotionally, as well as physically.

Meaningful goals are those that matter to you in a very personal way. Maybe you want to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for your family. Take your grandchildren to the park. Go on a day trip with your friends. Sign up to walk for an important cause. Or take the lead on a new project at work.

Whatever your goals may be, setting them is always the first step towards reaching them.

Setting SMART Goals

SMART goals are:


  • It says exactly what you want to accomplish


  • It has concrete steps that allow you to track your  progress; at the end of each milestone, you’ll know how far away you are from reaching your goal


  • It’s something you know you can achieve because it’s within reach—you are physically and mentally capable of doing it


  • It means a lot to you; achieving it will prove you are the strong, independent person you know you can be


  • It has an end date to work toward, with multiple dates as checkpoints along the way

Smart Goal Example:

Not SMART: I want to cook more.
SMART: “I want to cook 3 homemade dinners every week for the next 6 months, so I can cook Thanksgiving dinner for my family this year.”

Once you have a SMART goal you’d like to accomplish, it’s helpful to make an action plan to achieve it. No matter the goal you’d like to achieve, an action plan can help you:

  • List the steps you need to take
  • Identify health obstacles and solutions
  • Identify life obstacles and solutions
  • Ask people for help
  • Set milestones

Get Started

Life can sometimes get in the way of your best intentions. That’s why it’s important to pick SMART goals and do your best to stick to them. To help you create a SMART goal you’d like to set for yourself—and to help you achieve it—we’ve created a Goal Tool Kit. You’ll be able to take some of the sections of this tool kit with you to your next office visit to share with your doctor.

The Goal Tool Kit includes:

  • A goal-setting worksheet so you can set a SMART goal. A sample goal-setting worksheet is included.
  • An action plan worksheet to fill out and share with your doctor. It will help you identify specific steps you’ll need to take toward achieving your goal, as well as help you recognize potential barriers. A sample action plan is included.
  • A personal contract for you and your doctor to review.

Stay in the Know. Live in the Yes.

Get involved with the arthritis community. Tell us a little about yourself and, based on your interests, you’ll receive emails packed with the latest information and resources to live your best life and connect with others.