Goal-Setting That Works

Goal-Setting That Works

We all have great intentions to fulfil our New Year’s Resolutions and set ourselves goals to improve ourselves over the course of the year. Now that January is here, have you already dropped the ball on fulfilling your resolution? Realised that it may not be that easy to impart change in your life? As a Chiropractor, I work with people to set health-related goals daily. Knowing how to set sensible, realistic, and achievable goals is a skill that everyone should learn at an early age. This article will discuss how to create more achievable health-related goals for the year and can be applied to almost any discipline using the basic principles. 

Step 1: Find your why.

Our first step is finding your why, the reason you want to set this goal. What do you ultimately want to achieve by accomplishing this goal? For most people, they want to become healthier, lose weight, or get stronger. What people often don’t understand about this step is that this is where we get all our motivation to fulfil this goal. It’s not enough to say, “I want to lose weight because I want to lose weight”, or “I want to lose weight because I know it’s what it takes to be healthy.” Getting to the root of the goal is what’s most important here. 

For example, clients who come to see me often suffer from back pain which has prevented them from enjoying life – it may be a former athlete who can no longer play their favourite sport, a grandmother who can no longer lift her 2-year-old grandchild, or a tradie who just can’t carry out their workload and provide for the family. Whatever the reason may be, we must set a goal to accomplish something important, something that will motivate you to wake up every morning and put it into action. Do you want to live longer and see your grandchildren get married? Or run that marathon with your child? Play footy like you used to when you were younger? Finding your why is the most important step to setting a goal you will achieve, and it’s often overlooked. 

Step 2: Set your goal: Realistic, Measurable and Time-bound.

Next, we have to select an appropriate goal. But how do we do it? We need to set a goal that is achievable but still pushes ourselves. It should be measurable, but not solely based on a number, and time-sensitive. With New Year’s resolutions, the time table is easy. You’ve got the year to accomplish the goal. However, saying “I want to lose 25kgs this year,” and getting to December only to realise you’ve got another 10kgs to go just doesn’t work. 

Long term goals need to be broken down into sensible sub-goals. If you want to lose 25kgs in the year, you need to lose 2kgs per month. Not only does it keep us on a consistent pattern of accomplishing our goal, but it also makes the task look more realistic and achievable, meaning we won’t get deflated or overwhelmed by the enormity of the task. Setting unrealistic goals means we are setting ourselves up for failure and, in my experience, people who think they are likely to fail will often give up. 

This is where the fine line between being achievable and pushing ourselves comes into play, and why Step 1 is so important. If we don’t have a great deal of motivation, we will not be able to push ourselves and therefore should make more conservative goals. Succeeding at one goal can often be a good motivational tool when setting a new goal, and we can push ourselves that bit further next time, because we already have the confidence that we can achieve our goals. 

Be honest and realistic about your goals.  If you have time to go to the gym once per week, you may not want to set your weight loss goal at 1kg per week, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. We should make sure we allow for set-backs and be prepared to miss a target occasionally. If you only lost 1kg this month instead of 2kgs, we just have to stay calm and seek a little extra motivation for next month.  We can do a couple extra training sessions and make up for it. Don’t get discouraged by failure, get motivated! 

We also need to celebrate our victories, if we don’t feel like we are achieving anything we will lose sight of our motivation. This can be as simple as playing your favourite song each time you complete a workout, or buying that special pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on since you started your challenge. My word of advice here is that weight loss and health-related goals should not have food rewards. We don’t want to celebrate losing 2kgs this month by gorging ourselves on takeaway or create an unhealthy relationship with certain foods.

Goal-setting is a skill that needs practice. We should accept the fact that we may fail, but continue to strive for success. Find your motivation, set a realistic, achievable, measurable, and time-sensitive goal. Never give up, even if you hit a wall. Celebrate your successes. And most importantly, set yourself up for success! 

If you have health-related goals for 2020 and think Chiro might help, we’d love to see you. To book an appointment with Dr. Scott, call 3482 2637 or click here to book an appointment online.


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