Episode 99 | Looking Back in Your ACL Rehab

Show Notes:

In this episode, we cover the year in review. We dive into some reflection strategies for our ACLers that is very vital for goal planning, especially with a new year ahead. We talk about some specific examples relating to goals and how falling short of some can be a huge learning experience. If you’re looking to set the tone for 2023 or your ACL rehab ahead, this is the episode for you.

What’s up guys? Welcome back to another episode on the ACL Athlete Podcast. It is Christmas time here in the States, and it’s the end of the year. Today is going to be short and sweet, very straight to the point, but you do have some action items that I want you to take. And I think that this will be very helpful for you, as we approach this New Year 2023. And also, if you’re listening to this at some point in 2023, maybe it’s 24, who knows, maybe it’s 2025 and you’re listening to this, I hope that this is still helpful for you to be able to reflect and think and be able to set the precedence for the time to come.

You guys know me at the end of the year, I am a very big sucker for reflecting and goal setting. I love this time of the year. It’s just really awesome to be able to slow things down. I have a tendency for me to go, go, go and sprint and go really fast. Whether it’s with the rehab side of things or the business side of things or whatever we are working on, I just have a tendency to go and sometimes it’s hard for me to stop. And so I love this last week of the year. It’s a big week for me to be able to just really stop and it’s helpful to just rest with the holidays. Before we hit the new year, we have a lot planned for the ACL Athlete. And I’m so excited to share this with you guys soon enough. 

But 2023, is going to be a very, very big year for our team, the company, for our ACLers and we’re so excited to reveal this stuff, but we can’t just yet. So stay tuned. But this whole point of the end of the year and reflecting, it’s good to disconnect, it’s good to spend time with family, and to just think. And we all love some dedicated time to this. And I end up getting my best ideas during this downtime because things are constantly go, go, go within the year and within certain time periods that it’s hard to just be able to think. And so a big part of this episode and where we’re at right now is to just reflect. And if you’re listening right now and you’re like, nah, I ain’t got time for that. Trust me and just take even just 5 to 10 minutes, if you got 30 minutes or however much time you want to dedicate to this, I promise you it will do you a world of good. And let’s just take some time to focus on this for a second. 

And the thing that I want to point out here is that everyone is going to set goals. We got a new year coming up, we got new year resolutions, we’ve got all these things that everyone is going to set really big goals for, right, especially for you ACLers going through this process. You have big goals to be able to get back to what you love to do, whether it is BJJ or Muay Thai, or maybe it is skiing or playing soccer, handball, you name it. So you’ve got some things on the horizon that you’re aiming for.

One of the things I want to first do is to think about, not where you want to go the goals you have set, but let’s reflect and think of where you’ve been. And I think that this is really important because this is essentially looking at our process and the things we have done and being able to know, okay, what is it that I need to do in order to get to my end goal and to make sure that I improve my process and what I have been doing to move forward towards that goal. 

Reflecting on the goals I set for 2022, I’m looking at the things that I hit, and the goals that I met and accomplished which are always awesome to reflect on. And then the big part of this is also reflecting on where I fell short and the things that I didn’t hit. And it’s really important and I almost think that it’s more important to think of where you fell short because it allows us to audit our process. It allows you to be able to change and make sure that that doesn’t repeat or happen again, and be able to also figure out why didn’t it happen. So that’s why reflecting can be so helpful in this process. Here is my encouragement and action item to you, whether you’re listening to this at the end of 2022, or maybe you are catching it later in this process. It’ll apply no matter where you are in life or on the calendar. But think about how 2022 has gone for you and the goals you have set.

Now, I know a lot of you, most of you in this process probably didn’t have an ACL tear or an ACL reconstructive surgery planned for 2022. But here you are in the midst of this, it happened. And so now what is it that you’re going to do about it? And also thinking about what you have done so far in this process and reflecting on it. And one of the things from a big-picture standpoint is thinking about the 2022 goals, in general. Let’s say including the ACL rehab and not including the ACL rehab, what goals did you have set and what did you accomplish? What can you check next? What didn’t you accomplish, putting an X next to? And then just sit and think for a second. And ask yourself, why? Why didn’t I accomplish these? Why do I have to put an X next to these? And what changes are you going to make sure that it doesn’t repeat the next year?

Now, looking at this through the lens of your ACL rehab, your surgery, and your recovery, what goals have you set for your ACL rehab? What did you accomplish so far? What haven’t you accomplished? And a lot of you are of sitting on the spectrum of trying to get to this end goal and to be able to get cleared and to be able to do the things that you love that we had mentioned before. But one of the things I want you to think about is, okay, if you haven’t hit the said goal, why not? And then it’s starting to think a little bit deeper. Well, is it your guidance? Is it the person who is kind of leading you on this journey? Is it your plan? Are you just following a general protocol or is it just something that’s very generic? Maybe you’re just finding stuff on Instagram or YouTube to do. Is it the plan? Is it your environment? Maybe you are going to a physical therapy clinic that is not very conducive for you to be an athlete and to move around. Maybe it’s the environment where you’re training and you almost feel a little bit shy of doing certain movements because of people looking at you.

These are the reflections that are not fun to do, but they’re the things that we need to know in order to change, to be able to move forward. Maybe it’s your compliance and execution. People can have the best plan and the most specific program and all the bells and whistles. But if you’re not doing it, if there’s no compliance to it and you’re not executing what is being given to you and you’re being guided by, well, then it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. So then that comes back to you as a person of like, okay, I’m just not following through on what I need to do. Is it your schedule? Is it something where you are a mom of twins and you also work and you’ve got this four-day program that you’re supposed to do that takes you an hour and a half and it’s just not realistic?

 So then is that a conversation with who is guiding you? Is it a pivot in your plan? Is it something where you have just the most viable program where you only do 15 to 20 minutes of stuff every few days? And you guys would be surprised how many people we talk to and we’re like, hey, like what does your schedule look like with your training? And then maybe they’re also doing their sport-based stuff and so then they’re spending so much time and it’s not balancing their recovery, or maybe they’re getting so burnt out because they’re doing so much and it’s just not conducive to their schedule and the way that they need to be doing their ACL rehab.

The other thing to think about is your intent. Intent, meaning how much are you putting into it, a little different than compliance. Compliance is actually doing the work. The intent is, are you just going through the motions or are you showing up and doing the work and putting in as much energy as you can to make sure you’re improving? And these are the things to consider in this process and to get you thinking about why didn’t you accomplish what you wanted to. And these could be some factors. There’s so many factors that are out there, but this is to get those wheels turning of, okay, what do I need to change? Is it my guidance? Is it the plan? Is it where I’m going in my environment? Is it me? Is it compliance and just doing the work? Is it my schedule? Is it the intent and me just showing up to do the work and putting my energy into it? And once you reflect on these whys, what are you going to do to make sure that doesn’t repeat as you go into this next year?

The thing that I would recommend is to connect that with something that you do want to change and make it an easy change. Don’t go crazy and just say, all right, I’m going to work out six times a week doing my ACL rehab. One, that’s probably not going to be beneficial. Two is that, it’s not going to be realistic because of life. And so start really easy if you’re struggling to get maybe three days a week in. Maybe let’s start with one to two and hit that consistently. But just don’t go crazy because if you try to do an all or nothing, which is a very big thing with goal setting and with the new year and resolutions. If I only do it 75% or 50%, instead of going all in, then it’s not even worth it, which is not true. Let’s just remove the barrier because if you weren’t working out or doing your rehab one to two times a week, then even just stepping in and doing it one time is going to be beneficial. You’re going to need two times and you’re going to need more than that, but start small and build that consistency and momentum.

The last piece of this is I want you guys to go a little bit deeper on this reflection. And this is going to be something big for me that I always do. But when you’re evaluating this from different buckets, there’s the professional side. So that might be your performance at work, the things that you did well this year that you didn’t do well, that you want to grow in and improve on. There’s the spiritual side. Maybe if you guys are believers in any type of faith or religion or maybe free spirits, those are things to reflect on that’s important to you as a person. And then there’s obviously the personal piece or the health piece that we have an emphasis on which for us are buckets and movement, nutrition, recovery, stress, and connection. 

To talk briefly through these movements, how does that look as a big picture of like, are you moving? And of course, ACL rehab falls into this bucket primarily. What would you rate yourself and how did you do? Sure, there were ebbs and flows. I know I had a lot of ebbs and flows with my own movement and people are going to have that. But how would you rate that and how would you rate that with your ACL rehab as well? There’s the nutrition piece. How did you rate in terms of fueling yourself? We view nutrition as fuel. That’s how I talk with all of our athletes. This is the fuel that is going to fuel you for your day, whether it is for work or whether it’s for the ACL rehab process, performance, recovery, and more. How was your nutrition? 

How was your recovery? Did you balance that with the stress in terms of movement and in terms of strength training and all the things that you needed to do? Did you balance your recovery, especially the sleeping side? Did you sleep enough? Were there periods of time where you didn’t sleep really well, and can you dig deeper as to why not? That’s an important piece of this whole personal health and performance. Then, there’s the whole stress piece. This is the one that sneaks in very easily and this gets everyone, especially certain periods of time where things are hectic or maybe some personal things are going on. Stress can easily get into the mix and then start to knock off some of these movement pieces, nutrition, and sleep. But it also changes our body’s physiology a little bit. It’s good to dial that in and know when those points come and how you’re going to be more proactive about it. 

And then last but not least, is connection or as we say, relationships. This is a huge bucket for personal health, in my opinion. And I love it because it’s something that we all need as human beings, whether it’s with family, with friends, or with a community of sorts. Heck, ACLers have such a strong community. Our community is so strong. And so that’s important to be able to connect with people who are going through this process. This is the other thing that I would suggest reflecting on from family to friends, to professional to… whether it is a group of people, whether it’s a sport or something like all of you ACLers.

These are areas to think about as we head into this new year. But this is a point of looking back in your life and in 2022, especially in your bigger goals, in your ACL rehab and in the personal and professional and all the things that we just covered, the things that you want to think about is what you accomplish, what you didn’t accomplish, and diving into why not. Maybe that’s just plans changed, or maybe it was just the plan was not right, and it wasn’t a good time. But what can be changed to make sure that that doesn’t repeat again? Take 30 minutes to sit down, and reflect on these different buckets. 

If I can be of any help, please reach out to us and our team. But before you guys go, looking at 2023, take a second, look back, give yourself a second to think and reflect, and I promise you it will be a world of good for your goals ahead. That’s going to be it for today, guys. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Maybe you’re in 2023 listening to this and I hope that you are. That I appreciate all of you and we are coming up into a big year of 2023. We are so excited and the support from you guys is just unreal.

Until next time, team, this is your host, Ravi Patel, signing off.

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