Written by: Allison Stringer, MS, PT, FAAOMPT, CHA, and Clinical Director at Andover and Dracut, MA
New Year resolutions actually go back to ancient times, over 4,000 years ago! While resolutions are still a tradition, the type of resolutions have changed over the years. Most people now focus on self-improvement — weight loss, improvement in healthy lifestyles (better eating, increased exercise, and reduction in alcohol use and smoking), and spending more time with family and friends. Some seek to reduce spending or improve their financial status by finding new jobs or career growth. But, according to recent research, 45 to 60 percent of Americans make New Year resolutions, while as few as eight percent are successful.
So, why do people fail? It’s all in the framing of the resolutions. Many people set vague goals, for example, “I resolve to eat better in 2022.” As physical therapists we already know how to set goals for our patients. Apply what you have learned to yourself; if you want to be successful, think like a clinician with regard to your personal goals.
Instead of creating resolutions, we encourage you to create SMART goals:
- Specific (simple, sensible, significant)
- Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
- Achievable (agreed, attainable)
- Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based)
- Time bound (time-based, time cost limited, time-sensitive)
We have expanded on these definitions, which will allow you to explore how to create, develop and achieve your goals.
- Specific: Your goal should be clear and specific. When drafting your goal, try to answer the five “W” questions.
- What do I want to accomplish?
- Why is this goal important?
- Who is involved?
- Where is it located?
- Which resources or limits are involved?
- Measurable: Assessing progress will help you to stay focused. A measurable goal should address questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
- Achievable: Your goal needs to be realistic and attainable to be successful. An achievable goal will usually answer questions such as:
- How can I accomplish this goal?
- How realistic is the goal based on other constraints, such as financial factors?
- Relevant: This step is about ensuring that your goals matter to you and you can retain control over them. A relevant goal can answer “yes” to these questions.
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Am I the right person to reach this goal?
- Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
- Time-bound: Every goal needs a target date, so you have a deadline to focus on. A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions.
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
Focus on the positive aspects of your life, create goals based on what brings you joy, and remember that your success is defined by YOU. As Tony Robbins said: “Success is doing what you want, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.”
If one of your goals is to get a treatment plan for an injury or pain you are experiencing, let Professional Physical Therapy help you. Contact Professional Physical Therapy, for an assessment and/or physical therapy evaluation, so you can get your life healthier and more comfortable today!