Set Goals, Hit Milestones & Celebrate

As we move into the New Year we are reminded about goals, resolutions and the potential of what we can be in the future.  Whether you are looking to lose weight, get a new job, find a partner or just get healthier, having goals always helps!


The same goes for surgery.  Goals are very important! Whether heading into or out of surgery having goals will keep you motivated and pushing forward, even when you may feel like you’re standing, or sitting, still.  However, it is key to remember that goals aren’t written in stone and can be adjusted.  Since recovery almost never goes exactly as planned and one person’s recovery cannot be mapped out based on someone else’s journey, it is important to accept that some goals will need to change over time.

Make Goals, Big and Small

Both big and small goals count.  It’s important to make goals for things that are simple, hard, big and small.  Even the little wins following surgery and during the rehabilitation process will help keep your spirits up during a very challenging time.

Here are some small goals that I had following my surgeries:

  • Shower without assistance/independently
  • Cook a meal independently
  • Basically do anything on my own, let’s be honest

Some big goals:

  • Attending an event after surgery
  • Being able to walk unassisted
  • Returning to the gym
  • Getting my confidence back

Goals following my first surgery:

Honestly, I didn’t have many.  There were so many unknowns for me that I just had no idea.  Key goal was to stay positive and keep pushing forward, work hard on any physiotherapy given to me and know that the future is whatever I would make it and if there were challenges that arise on the road of recovery to take a deep breath and work through it.

My MAJOR goal following my second surgery:

Before my second surgery my goal was to walk down the aisle at my best friends wedding without any kind of assistance, whether a cane or hanging onto someone.  I wanted to stand beside him and not feel limited in being able to support him on his day.  Well, after a lot of hard work I was able to achieve my goal! (and I actually danced at his wedding as well!!)

Dancing at bff's wedding
8.5 weeks post left hip replacement. Major goal achieved!

My best friends wedding was set for mid-July out on Prince Edward Island, Canada.  That was just over 8 weeks following my left (and second) hip replacement.  I couldn’t believe that I was able to accomplish this goal, having the first hip already done definitely gave me the upper hand in being able to reach this goal.

Some small goals may seem big, and some big goals may seem impossible.  The small goals that you make before surgery may turn into your big goals, some of your big goals may feel like small victories, it’s sometimes hard to gauge before you have been on ‘the other side’ (what we often refer to as the other side of surgery). An example for me was being able to take a shower independently after surgery… I didn’t realize how important that was to me until I wasn’t able to do it, just something I took for granted.

No matter your goals, with patience and dedication anything is possible.


These are the actions or events marking a significant change or stage in your development (as defined by Google).

The Difference Between Milestones and Goals

You will hit milestones.  How and when you hit them will depend on your goals, dedication and physical situation (remember we are all different).

Some milestones you may not specifically have a goal in relation too.  It may just be something that happens along the way as a result of your overall recovery.  An example being your leg muscles (for me quad post 2nd surgery) starting to feel normal and working again!

Here are some specific milestones of mine:

  • Being able to poop (simple, but you’ll understand after surgery and pain medication)
  • 1st shower
  • Finally leaving my house
  • Fitting into my normal pants (not my loose pants, stretchy pants or nightgown)
  • Staple removal day
  • Using one crutch
  • lifting your leg into a car without being assisted (by someone else, or even yourself)
  • Walking down stairs alone
  • …and I could go on forever (I will work on putting a full list together)

There are lots of little and big milestones that you will hit along the way.  Some you won’t realize you do until it’s done, and others you will work long and hard to even reach.  Some won’t seem important to some people, but huge personal victories to others.

Whether a goal or a milestone (similar but different) it’s an achievement.  Hard work is put into everything you do following surgery so as easy as it is to get discouraged remember to recognize your accomplishments along the way, whether big or small… which brings me to the last step.

Final Step – CELEBRATE!

No matter the goal or milestone acknowledge it, celebrate it.  Do something to recognize the barrier that you have broken through.  Whether that be a moment of meditation, yelling for joy, having a little cry, having a beer or whatever it is that will help you celebrate, do it!  (yes, I have done all of the above)

No matter your goal, hip replacement or not, celebrate it.  You put in a lot of hard work, acknowledge it and then set new goals.

3 thoughts on “Set Goals, Hit Milestones & Celebrate

  1. I am SO happy I stumbled upon your blog. I’m 41 and having my left hip replaced in 6 days.. not that I’m counting down or anything. Soon the other one will be replaced and I’m hoping the knee ache and pain is just a residual effect from the past year. Thank you for this post! This evening I will be laying out clear goals and milestones for myself.
    I hope you’re feeling well and strong!

    1. Hi Jenn. I hope that your recovery is going well and you are feeling a little better everyday. Thanks so much for the message! 🙂

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