Happy New Year! We hope you all had a fantastic holiday season with family and friends.
At the beginning of January, many of us like to make New Year’s resolutions, especially about exercising and living a healthier lifestyle. According to an Ipsos Reid survey, “70 per cent of Canadians who made New Year’s resolutions inevitably broke them.”
Although trying to make your life better is a great idea and a great start to the year ahead, you need a strategy in order to achieve your goals.
Successful entrepreneur and life coach, Tony Robbins states, “Setting life goals is the fundamental key to success. Goals let us create our future in advance of it actually happening. Setting goals helps us grow and expand, pushing ourselves to transform in ways that, just maybe, we never imagined… You’re much more likely to put time and energy into something that excites you, so your goals should reflect that same level of momentum.”
What this means is people need a compelling reason to want to achieve something. So, ask yourself:
What do I want to achieve this year?
Why do I want to achieve this?
If you have the answers to these two questions, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goals.
A Strategy for Success
In order for your resolutions to be sustained and successful, a proven strategy that works is setting SMART goals to get you there. SMART goals are:
S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Achievable
R – Realistic
T – Time Based
Write down a specific goal you wish to achieve with as many details as possible. An example could be, “I want to run 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week and lose 35 pounds by June 1.”
How will you know you’ve achieved your goal? Because you will be able to see the results! You can break down the 35 pounds you wish to lose by June 1 into months. That’s 7 pounds per month. This is a way to check your progress each month to ensure you are staying on track to reaching your goal.
Is losing 35 pounds in 5 months achievable? If you think so then great! If you don’t really think it is, you may wish to reduce your goal to something more manageable, such as losing 5 pounds in 1 month. If you think this is easier, then reducing your overall goal to 25 pounds may be more practical.
Your goal should be reasonable to achieve and not too lofty. If you’re not a runner, starting with a 5-day-per-week running program may not be realistic. Perhaps twice a week is easier to achieve so start smaller and work your way up to five days per week.
Set a realistic deadline for you to achieve your goal.
The Next Step
Having a goal that takes several months to accomplish may seem daunting. Psychologist Patrick Gaudreau, who runs a research lab at the University of Ottawa that studies motivation, goal achievement and how people control their actions, weighs in on, “ways to stay motivated over extended periods of time to ensure you don’t give up on your resolutions.”
Gaudreau states, “People need to create an action plan. The person needs to think about what they need to do and when, where, and how they’re going to do the actions and behaviours to accomplish their goal. Creating an action plan helps individuals incorporate the new goal into their regular daily schedule and can eventually help the new goal become a habit.”
So take that goal of running 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week. When are you going to fit this into your schedule? And where are you going to do it? Sometimes the easiest way is when you first wake up so events during the day don’t derail you from your plan. Set your alarm clock 30 minutes earlier to give yourself enough time to get your run in before heading off to work. If you like to run outdoors when it’s nice that’s easy but what about when it starts to rain? Have a backup plan. Maybe you have a treadmill at home or maybe you need to hit the gym until the sun returns.
“It is normal to hope for the best, but it is important to accept that it is impossible to attain your goal on each and every single day of your life,” says Gaudreau.
“Goal-setting and goal-planning require flexibility, patience, and tolerance toward mistakes.”
Make Sure Your Body is Capable
Whatever health goal you may have, it is crucial to make sure your body is healthy and functioning properly to be able to handle the demands of increased activity. If you are starting any exercise program, always consult with a qualified health professional first.
About Westwood Total Health
Westwood Total Health is a busy, award winning chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinic and has been providing health and wellness care to families in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody since 2006. The goal of chiropractic care at Westwood Total Health is to improve spinal alignment and function, which promotes health throughout the entire body. At Westwood Total Health our mission is to make the Tri-Cities the healthiest community in the country. Won’t you join us?