Pacing and overcoming fatigue

11) Goal setting

Goal setting is a way to focus on what is important to you and a way to make a change for the better. Start with a simple goal or two for example an exercise goal could be to aim to walk to your local shop and back. Think of easy steps and how you are going to turn them into actions.

  • Is this something I really want to do?
  • Is this something that is important to me?
  • Is this something that will help me manage my life better while living with my COPD long-term?
  • Can I realistically see myself achieving this goal?
  • Have I been specific?

A step ladder to success! Think SMART

  • Specific – what, when, how often, where?
  • Measurable – how can you measure if you are improving?
  • Achievable – something that is important to you and that you can realistically imagine yourself achieving.
  • Realistic – set a target which can be adapted after you get to each new step.
  • Time Frame – plan and set a time to reach your goal.


I will walk halfway to the shop and back everyday for three days a week. I will take a two minute rest before coming back. I will note how long it takes me in my diary. If I feel OK I will go a little further for the next three times. I will try to take an extra walk by the end of the month. Once I can do this I will reset my goal.

For more information on goal setting see page 8 :

Moving on Together (MoT): A self-management workbook by NHS Ayrshire & Arran.