PTC Blog

The New Year is right around the corner. Are you making a new year’s resolution? Is there anything you would like to change or do better in 2018? According to Wikipedia, making a new year’s resolution is a common tradition mostly in the western hemisphere and dates back to the Babylonian Era. A resolution is when a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. It’s a great concept, however the success rate is not impressive. So why do people fail at the goals they set out to achieve in the new year?

Here are a few reasons:

  1. Unrealistic goals are being set or there is not a timeline associated with that goal.
  2. The resolutions themselves are not personal enough to the individual or the individual makes the resolution because the people around them want them to. For example: an individual who may smoke makes a resolution to quit smoking because their family wants them to versus them actually wanting to.
  3. Too many resolutions are being made at once and there is no tracking associated with the progress being made.

Now that we know what may contribute to resolutions failing, let’s take a look at how we can set ourselves up for success in 2018! Whether your resolution be to lose weight, workout more, be more assertive, or learn another language, you have to be SMART about setting goals and you have to personally be invested in the resolution you set for yourself.

So how do we go about setting SMART goals?

  • Be SPECIFIC: when determining your goal for 2018, you must be clear about what you are trying to accomplish. It’s important to include who, what, why, where and when. Many resolutions fail because they are not specific enough and therefore there is not as much personal investment in them. Let’s take a look at building a goal based off of the SMART criteria.

“I resolve to lose weight” —There is still some missing pieces to this goal, right?! Let’s take a look at the next step to building a SMART goal.

  • Make the goal MEASURABLE: when goals are measurable, it is easier to stay on task and track progress. Ask yourself how much? or how many? and add that to your goal. That is something missing in the above goal example! Let’s continue to build the example by adding in a measurable quantity to the weight lose.

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds” —We now have a measurable quantity associated with the weight loss but there are still missing pieces! Time to add the “A” of our SMART goal- setting.

  • Make sure the goal is ATTAINABLE: setting goals that can be reached increases confidence and motivation to continue to take the steps necessary to achieve those goals.

Take a look at our example above. Losing 25 pounds is much more attainable than setting a goal of 100 pounds right away.

  • Your goal must be REALISTIC: it is best to set goals that have steps that you are willing and wanting to take in order for you to be successful. Let’s take a look at our example:

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds by eating well balanced meals of 1500 calories per day and doing 30 minute workouts from home.”

We now just added a couple steps that we are going to take to help reach the weight loss goal, BUT we are still missing one of the most important components of goals setting…

  • Your goal must be TIME oriented: timelines help keep you motivated and accountable for reaching your goals. Without timelines, it is hard to track progress and stay motivated. Our current goal in the example above does not have a timeline associated with it. Without that timeline, there is no sense in urgency in accomplishing the goal. Let’s add a timeline to the goal to see how we can set ourselves up for success.

“I resolve to lose 25 pounds by May 1, 2018 by eating well balance meals of 1500 calories per day and doing 30 minute workouts 3 times per week from home.”  Not only did we add the timeline of May 1, 2018 but we also added another measurable way to track our success by stating we would workout 3 times per week. This goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

Now that we learned how to set ourselves up for success in reaching our 2018 New Year’s Resolution, we want to hear from you! What are your SMART resolutions for 2018? Share them in the comments below and you will be entered in a drawing to win a 60 minute massage!

Jackie Giese, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants

December 27th, 2017

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