It’s a new year! Many people make resolutions to improve their health and life in the new year, but most of them give up on their resolutions within the month of January. This doesn’t need to be you, though! You can make your New Year’s resolutions achievable by keeping the following physical therapy advice in mind.
Losing weight and exercising more often are among the most common resolutions. It’s important to ensure that you are being healthy and safe when working towards these goals. A physical therapist can help you achieve your goals in a safe, healthy manner.
Here are some of our top tips to help you make your New Year’s resolutions achievable.
#1. Recognize That Change Takes Time
Lifestyle changes take time, and that’s what the majority of New Year’s resolutions involve. Whether your goal is to drink more water or to get into the best shape of your life, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Remember that it took time to develop the lifestyle that you currently lead. It will take time to change it. Recognizing that change takes time is a crucial part of making your New Year’s resolutions achievable.
You aren’t going to get abs, become a master painter, or write a book in a day. Working towards your goals one small, attainable step at a time will help you reach your big, pie-in-the-sky goals over the course of the year or next few years. If you don’t usually drink water, try replacing one soda or juice with a glass of water. As this becomes habitual, gradually increase your water intake until it’s your main beverage.
Remember: it takes an average of 66 days or about 2 months for a behavior to become habitual. Keep this in mind, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up in your goal. Just get back in the saddle the next day.
This is especially important when it comes to goals involving exercise, as you can seriously injure yourself if you’re not careful. A physical therapist can help you set a realistic timeframe for your goal and understand what is best for your body. They can also provide you with advice on how to prevent injury – which would throw off your goal of exercising more often significantly!
#2. Set SMART Goals
Many people fall into the pitfall of making vague goals, like “I want to read more”. With such an undefined goal, it’s easy to either feel overwhelmed or to not know where to begin. In order to make your New Year’s resolutions achievable, try following the SMART principle.
What this means is:
- S: Specific. You define the goal clearly, with all the whos, whats, whens, and whys. You figure out the exact specifications of your goal, from why you want to do it to any requirements you have for yourself.
- M: Measurable. You figure out how you can track the progress and measure the outcome. Instead of “I want to read more”, try “I want to read 1 book a month”. That is something that you can easily measure over time.
- A: Attainable. Is your measure of time reasonable? Ensure that the goal is something within your reach. For instance, if you want to lose weight, remember the health factors involved in this. It is neither realistic nor healthy to try to lose 30 lbs in 30 days. However, 1-2 lbs a week, or 4-8 lbs a month could be attainable for you, depending on your body and its nutritional needs.
- R: Relevant. Is the goal good for you? If you hate to run, resolving to run more may not be a good option for you. You may opt for a different goal that is more in line with your interests in needs. For instance, if you hate to run but you love to swim, resolving to swim more often would be a better goal for you.
- T: Timely. Give yourself a deadline, even a soft deadline. By having a specific time you want to achieve your goal by, it can help you manage your time to make your New Year’s resolutions achievable.
If you’re unsure of how to set a SMART goal for your fitness goals, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor or physical therapist. They will help you understand where your body’s at, and how you can safely and healthily work towards your goals.
#3. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Slip-ups are inevitable. Life happens. If you slip up, you can still make your New Year’s resolutions achievable by trying again. What matters is that you try.
If you get injured, it’s especially important that you don’t beat yourself up or try to push yourself into doing activities that your body isn’t ready for. Physical therapy can help you to recover and regain your strength and range of motion. Physical therapy can also help you to prevent injury in the future.
Remember: in order to achieve your goals, you need to take care of yourself. If you get injured while exercising, don’t try to grin and bear it! This could make your injury even worse, and prevent you from being able to achieve your goals. If you get injured, seek out medical attention and physical therapy as needed.
Do You Need Physical Therapy?
Wasatch Peak Physical Therapy can help you make your New Year’s resolutions achievable by helping you both heal from and prevent injuries. If you need advice on the best way to start exercising or how to avoid injury, your physical therapist will be able to help you. Getting a physical before starting any exercise program is important in order to prevent injury.
Contact us today to learn more about how physical therapy can help you.