Setting Your Goals
The first important question to ask yourself is “what do I hope to achieve?”
Define Your Personal Goal Or Goals For Your Psoriatic Condition
Make them specific, measurable, and achievable.
Examples of goals:
- “I want to be able to wear a bathing suit.”
- “I need to ease or get rid of the itching, burning, and/or pain.”
- “I want to wear black clothing again.”
- “I need to reduce my feelings of embarrassment.”
- “I need to be able to go back to work.”
- “I need help to take care of myself better — eat better, rest, laugh, and exercise.”
Then ask yourself: “Which goal is most important to me? How would I rank my goals in order of importance?”
Be sure to recognize the difference between your “needs” versus your “wants” and prioritize your needs.
Also be sure to think about goals that you might be able to achieve in the short-term, the mid-term, and the long-term.
- Your goals may change over time, so check-in on your goals at least once a year. Sometimes, you may need to do this more frequently.
- Share your goals with your care team. Have a conversation about how the treatment options and other supports they’re recommending might help you achieve your goals.
- If any treatments support your goals, ask all the questions you have about those treatments. The section on treatment options is a tool to help you with these questions. Keep notes of all of this information in your binder. Either you or a support person attending the appointment with you can take notes of the information your care team shares with you.
Track Your Progress Over Time
Track the impacts of your treatment choices on achieving your goals over time. Write about your experiences in your journal or binder and date the entries. It’s also important to include in your dated entries information about how you’re feeling, any changes in your diet or appetite, and whether or not you’ve had any other illnesses (e.g., the flu). Sometimes different factors can contribute to a flare-up. Use this valuable information with your care team during your appointments to talk about what’s working and what’s not working, and whether or not you are achieving your goal(s).
Physician appointments often need to be focused and direct. It’s important to know your top question or concern prior to the appointment and address it. If time allows, you can then touch on any other important questions or concerns that you’ve identified. If you have other care team members, such as nurses or pharmacists, you could also ask them some of your other questions that relate to their expertise (e.g., drug dosing and interactions for a pharmacist) to see what they recommend.
Continue To Educate Yourself
It is also important that you use your goals to do your own research and learn about your psoriatic condition. Be sure to check your sources for credibility. Some credible sources of information include: your primary care practitioner (family physician, nurse practitioner); your specialist(s) (dermatologist, rheumatologist); your other care team providers like nurses, social workers, or dietitians; your support group; your pharmacist; credible internet sources such as this one, Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency, the ministry of health in your province or territory; health non-profits like the Canadian Psoriasis Network; and the public library.
If and when feasible, you can also attend learning events associated with psoriatic conditions. Also, talk to family and friends, especially people who’ve lived with the same condition. What have they learned? What do they suggest? Information is power.
Write down what you learn. Adjust your goals and questions for your care team over time based on your new insights.
Last updated November, 2021