New year new you, sounds like a cliche but every year at least 1/3rd of Canadians make a New Year’s resolution. Health, wellness, and fitness goals are by far the most popular resolutions in Canada and around the world. In this blog post, we’ll share the secret to making, keeping, and conquering your new year’s resolution. Think of it as a New Year’s resolution hack that will help you meet your health goals!
Why Set a Goal?
Studies show that having a defined goal (in this case a resolution) that you can plan, measure the progress of and eventually achieve gives a massive sense of accomplishment and raises our self-esteem.
Avoid the Biggest Goal Setting Mistake
The most common goal setting mistake people make is setting a goal but not thinking about how they’ll achieve it. Now that you know that, you can avoid becoming part the 73% of Canadians who break their new year’s resolution! The key to a successful New Year’s resolution is:
- Clearly defining your goal
- Creating an action plan
- Measuring your progress
We suggest using the SMART system to set your New Year’s resolution, that is a goal that’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
How to Set a SMART Goal
Since its inception in the November 1981 issue of Management Review, George T. Doran’s SMART acronym has taken on many different meanings, but the main logic still stands; make goals that you can achieve! Here’s how you do it.
S – Specific
Your goal should be clear and precise so you can focus your energy and efforts on achieving it. Think about:
- What you want to achieve
- Why it’s important to you
- What resources you’ll need
- If there are any limits
Thinking about these elements will mean the difference between a vague goal like “I want to be healthier” and a specific goal like “I want to increase my daily activity so that I get a clean bill of health at my next physical.” One sets a clear path to get to your end goal.
M – Measurable
You need to track your progress to stay motivated, meet your deadlines, and in the end celebrate achieving your New Year’s resolution! When setting your goal, think about:
- How will I know I’ve reached my goal?
- How much or how many?
- Do I have a way to track this?
Thinking about how you’ll measure success will help you come up with an action plan. For example, if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, you’ll need a pedometer or other way of tracking your steps.
A – Attainable
One of the most critical elements of goal setting is being realistic about your abilities and setting an achievable goal for yourself. That doesn’t mean choosing a ridiculously easy target, it means thinking about:
- Do I have the physical ability to achieve my goal?
- Is my goal realistic based on my current situation?
- Do I have the resources or support needed to achieve my goal?
- Is this goal directly influenced by me and my actions?
For some people, walking 10,000 steps a day is a reasonable and achievable goal, while for others that would be unrealistic. You need to know your limits and consider them.
R – Relevant
Choosing a goal that is exciting to you, and relevant is important too. You have to be motivated by your target to work towards it. Ask yourself these questions about your goal and see if it’s still relevant to you:
- Is achieving this goal a worthwhile effort?
- Is it the right goal for me at this time?
T – Time-bound
Finally, you want to make sure you set a deadline for you to meet your goal. It helps you plan out how you’ll achieve your goal and set priorities if needed. You want to consider thinking about:
- When do I want to achieve my goal by?
- What can I do today to meet my goal?
- What can I do in the next six months to meet my goal?
Now that we’ve gone through the SMART system Let’s look at our starting goal of “I want to be healthier.” After SMART, that goal looks more like “I want to lower my blood pressure and cholesterol to recommended levels by August 31st. In order to do this, I will walk 10,000 steps a day.” Now you know what you’re aiming for and what you need to do to achieve the goal set!
Using the SMART system to set a goal will help you narrow down exactly what you want to achieve, by when, and start an action plan to get there. If you have any health-related concerns, talk to a pt Health physiotherapist about how you can set achievable health, wellness, and fitness goals this year.