Almost across the board, it can be said that having a goal or a focus tends to help a person achieve greater results, in nearly any realm you can imagine. What seems to help even more is when you are passionate or enthusiastic about that focus or goal—when it is something you sincerely hope to achieve.

The same may be said for the process of receiving continuing education as a professional massage therapist or bodyworker. If you go into your continuing education class with a specific goal in mind, then you may find yourself more likely to walk away from the class with accomplishments that are in line with your goal.

However, having a focus for your continuing education experience begins way before you walk in the door for your first day of class—or log on, if you happen to be taking one of the many continuing education classes offered online for busy massage therapists and bodyworkers.

Setting a goal you can feel passionate about begins with knowing important facts about yourself as a touch therapist, such as your strengths, your weaknesses and the kinds of clients you feel especially enthusiastic about serving in the session room.

Finding your focus for continuing education also means keeping a pulse on your professional career, and the strengths and weaknesses that might exist on the business side, rather than the session room side, of your practice. You should have an idea of the direction you want to go with your career.

If these aspects are not yet clear to you, consider setting aside time to journal on these pertinent details. You should find that knowing yourself as a massage therapist or bodyworker, and knowing the current and desired state of your practice, will help you set the most authentic and productive goals for the time you spend in continuing education classes.

You may decide that your first goal you would like to achieve through continuing education classes is to strengthen a weakness that has been plaguing you in the session room. This might mean learning one or more new techniques to better address an issue several of your clients present with on a regular basis.

As another example, you may decide your most pressing weakness is a lack of energy for the daily work you do. In this case, you might choose to take a continuing education class that will provide a refresher on body mechanics, or perhaps a continuing education course on a modality that involves much less physical intensity.

On the business side of the equation, your assessments might lead you to the conclusion that you would like to steer your massage therapy or bodywork practice toward a more spa-like clientele. Such a decision would likely lead you to enroll in continuing education courses that teach spa-like modalities for massage therapists and bodyworkers.

In addition, you could choose to enroll in a continuing education class that will teach you how to market to the specific clients you are looking to attract—in the case of the example listed above, that would mean marketing to the spa-goers in your community.

–Brandi Schlossberg