It’s at this time of year that people have made their new year’s resolutions. Quite often this involves getting fitter, or starting up a new hobby such as running. Most people can relate to going to a gym in January and not being able to move, but come February there are only half that amount of people in the gym. This is due to the fact that people can’t stay motivated to achieve their goals. Quite often the reason for this is that the goals aren’t SMART. As physiotherapists we set goals with patients all the time and this is how we try to keep patients motivated to achieve them:-
Specific – I know that this is obvious, but you need to make the goal specific. So rather than “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get stronger” you have to think more specifically; so more like “I want to be half a stone lighter” or “I want to be able to squat 100kg”. This gives you something much more specific to aim for and therefore reduces your risk of losing motivation.
Measurable – this relates to the specificity of the goal. In the two examples above we talk about weight lost or a specific weight to lift to show improvements in strength. A common one which we use as physiotherapists is pain scale from 0-10.
Achievable/Attainable – this refers to how realistic the goal is. It is not wrong to aim high, but make sure that you understand what is required to achieve your goals. Agree with your physiotherapist or personal trainer something that it achievable.
Relevant – is this goal relevant to you? If you lack resources to achieve the goal, look into making that resource available; for example, joining the gym or buying yourself some running trainers.
Time-bound – set yourself a timeline to achieve the goal. You may have a specific event to aim for; be it a family wedding or a sports event.
From the viewpoint of a physiotherapist, much of a patient’s success in their rehabilitation process is based on the diligence of the patient to follow through with our advice in his or her own time.
So whatever your goals are for 2018, why not try to make them SMART and increase your likelihood of achieving them.
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