Now that we’re finally in 2018—and there are many in this country who are excited to leave 2017 in the rearview mirror for myriad reasons—countless individuals have started working on the resolutions they made for the new year.
Making New Year’s resolutions is a fantastic start to making positive changes in your life – but it’s only a start. Your follow-through with the resolutions is what ultimately matters.
Do you think you’ll be able to actually keep your resolutions this year? Here’s a little quiz to determine the likelihood, and then we follow it up with some related tips to help you achieve your goals!
Simply answer “yes” or “no” to the following:
- Did you write them down?
- Are your resolutions SMART?
- Are you measuring your progress?
- Have you shared your resolutions with friends and family?
- Are you in charge of results?
- Do you have a roadmap of “bite-sized portions”?
- Did you make only a couple resolutions?
If you answered “yes” to all of these—or even a majority—the odds are pretty good you’re in good shape to find resolution success in 2018. Let’s break this down on a case-by-case basis to see why this is, and what you can do to stay on track all year long!
- Writing down your goals is a time-proven method for increasing the likelihood they are achieved. In part, this can be attributed to the fact it forces you to clarify what it is you actually want or are intending to do. More than that, a written goal is visible. Post your resolutions somewhere you will see them often. This will keep them in mind.
- SMART goals or resolutions are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound. Vague, unrealistic goals aren’t actually goals – they are dreams. Now, dreaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it won’t get you where you want to go. Instead, you need resolutions that are stated clearly and can be measured (so you are able to monitor progress). They should also be something you can actually accomplish, pertinent to what you want to achieve, and have a time constraint.
To see this in practice, let’s change a resolution of “lose weight” into one that is SMART. The first thing you need to do is establish how much weight you really want to lose. When you do, you need to keep the “Attainable” part in mind. So let’s set a hypothetical target of 24 lbs. (Makes the math super easy!) “I am going to lose 24 pounds in 2018” is a more robust resolution. It’s specific, achievable—only 2 lbs./month!— and you can measure your progress. By including “in 2018,” you’ve made your resolution timebound (although, in all fairness, most resolutions are timebound because they are things people want to achieve within a year). And this is certainly relevant to your overall health!
- The M in SMART is to create goals that are measurable, but “being able to measure” and “actually measuring” are two different things. In the aforementioned example, you would find greater success if you track your weight on a weekly basis.
Tying our first point in with this one, recording your progress—and any slippage!—helps to keep your resolution in mind all year. It is important to record your missteps because doing so allows you to evaluate what happened and then make a “course correction.” (Don’t beat yourself up over any missteps. Remember, without lessons learned from failing, there wouldn’t be any successes!)
- When you strive to make positive changes in your life, one of the best moves you can make is to enlist a support network. Most people in your life—those who are emotionally healthy, at least—want you to be happy, and if achieving your goals makes you happy, they will want to help. (For all of our faults, humans are naturally wired to want to help others.)
In addition to support, this is a great tactic to keep yourself accountable. Plus, sharing your successes can, in turn, inspire others – which creates a cycle of positivity!
- Knowing that you are in charge of your goals, since they are based on actions you take, is empowering. Being able to recognize this (like if you answered “yes” above) establishes a sense of responsibility you need to stick with your plans.
- The age-old cliché of “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” still is used to this day—and probably always will be—for the simple reason it’s 100% true. No matter where you want to go, you can get there with a series of steps. Going back to our earlier example about losing weight, it can be imposing to think about losing 24 pounds. When you realize it’s only a matter of losing less than half a pound every week, it suddenly seems that much more manageable.
Make your goals as manageable as possible by breaking them down into stages that are more easily achieved.
- It is truly commendable if you want to tackle many self-improvement projects in your life. The truth of the matter, however, is that you are a finite being with limited resources. You only have so much energy and the 24 hours in each day can fly by so quickly. Put simply, you cannot do it all at once.
If you have a list of more than three resolutions, you need to make some choices. Decide which two or three—even a single resolution might be the right all for your specific situation—and then save the rest for future resolutions. Keep in mind that it is better to succeed at one or two resolutions than to fail simultaneously at seven or eight!
Now that you know if your resolutions are solid, or they need a bit of work so you can succeed, please know we wish you the best in your journey. If you have made a resolution to exercise more often—but in a SMARTer way!—and develop any foot or ankle pain, come see us for help.
Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists is proud to provide exceptional, first-class podiatric care for all of our patients who come see us from across the greater Austin community. Contact us by calling (512) 328-8900 if you need to request an appointment or have any questions.