Progressing through a rehab or physical therapy plan can be a daunting task. Hyper awareness to the area of injury and spending parts of every day focused on the injury can be both mentally and physically grueling. Like JFK had with landing a man on the moon, the rehab process must begin with a vision of what success will look like. The vision is a picture of whats next for you after the rehab process has begun, and what you will be as a person when the process is complete. If the vision is compelling enough,  you will apply your best effort to obtain it, regardless of the obstacles and opposition. A good way to frame that vision is by asking yourself a series of questions. 

Question 1: What difference does a vision make in rehab?

“You’ve got to be careful if you don't know where you’re going, ‘cause you might not get there.”
- Yogi Berra.
  Vision keeps us attuned to possibilities that align with the future we see. Having a specific vision allows us to align priorities and prepare for the future. If you are intentional about what you would like to accomplish and what you would like to achieve then you're more likely to get there. Your vision and goal will serve as the engine to drive your rehab process. 

Question 2: What do you want?

Vision is all about what’s next. In the rehab process, it’s not about where you are now. Potentially an injured athlete, it's about what's next. It’s about how you see yourself performing on the field or in the gym in 3, 6, 12 months or more. The vision is about the future and how the future can guide your daily goals. If you need time to think about the best vision for you and the rehab process, we have 3 tips.
  1. Get away and clear your head - Taking time at the beginning of the rehab process to put down your phone, distance yourself from distraction and spend time in thought can be helpful to vision what you truly want. Sometimes, constantly being around social media and other people can lead you to blur the lines between what society says you should want and what you truly want out of the rehab process as you return to your peak physical health. 
  2. Believe the best is yet to come - We tend to experience what we expect. The biggest barriers you face during a rehab process are often the ones living inside your head. It is important to believe this because creating a vision of complete health is about being honest with yourself which includes your past and present and how they are influencing your future. 
  3. Imagine the end of your rehab and physical therapy process and describe what you see. 

Question 3: Is it clear?

Your vision must be concrete and explicit. Vision requires clarity. Most people have abstract visions at the start (ie. get out of pain), but abstract visions will only produce abstract results. Visions must be clear, (ie. get out of pain, so I can start at third base on the school baseball team so I can be a contributing member of the state championship team). If you don't know how to make your vision more clear, ask yourself the question ‘Why?’ 5 times.  “I want to get out of pain. Why? So that I can play baseball again. Why? So, I can be in a better mental place and happy competing with my friends. Why? Because the baseball field is my sanctuary and allows me to excel in other parts of my life ect..”  You get the idea.   There is nothing more satisfying than proceeding with confidence knowing you are passionate about the future because your vision is clear. 

Question 4: Does it inspire you?

Does your vision help you get out of bed in the morning? Does it make you ready to attack your physical therapy session? If it doesn’t then you might need to start back at Question 2. For your vision to be effective, it must be powerful enough to shake off complacency and replace it with motivation. Your vision must prompt action. Your vision must have a goal of being exponentially, not incrementally, healthier than in the future than you are today. You should even feel a little risky, but not stupid, about setting your goal and future following physical therapy. Most importantly, your vision should focus on what the future looks like, not how you will get there. If you can clearly communicate what your vision looks like your rehab team should be an intricate part of how you will get there. 

Question 5: Are you ready?

Prepare for the journey ahead. After creating your vision and proceeding through Questions 1-4, we shift from ‘Why?’ to ‘Why not?’ meaning why not you be the person to achieve your vision. You can take 4 steps to stick to your vision and achieve the rehab goals. Stick to a schedule or a routine, get necessary input, trust the process, and tweak as you go. 
  • Stick to a schedule- When you set aside the necessary time to reach those goals it focuses your intention and clarifies what you want to accomplish. 
  • Get necessary input- Asking questions of your rehab team makes you extremely available for feedback and direction. This gives directions to individual tasks, but also makes them less daunting. 
  • Trust the process- Remember your vision throughout the process, it can guide you and keep you accountable. 
  • Tweak as you go- Allow for some freedom and flexibility when appropriate. 
  Wouldn't you love to see what the future holds for you and your health? You can.  
Authored by Nicholas Petroski DPT. Based on the book “The Vision Driven Leader” by Michael Hyatt