Are you looking for a positive way to make a change in your life in the New Year? Or maybe you are finally ready to create a plan to reach that Big ‘Ole Goal you have always dreamed about. Then this series is for you!
Last week we focused on creating a visual picture of that place and you wrote a letter (or some bullet points) to your future self to celebrate reaching your goal. Today, we are going to focus on how to define your goal so you know where you are headed – and when you have arrived!
#1 – Decide what your goal is
Many people in the New Year want to lose weight. How many times have you set that goal only to find yourself indulging at the Super Bowl party and wondering where your will power went?
Your will power is not the problem in this scenario. What is the problem is that the goal was too vague for your brain to be able to wrap itself around. You need to set a concrete goal that your mind can hold onto when you are tempted by that plate of nachos or that hot fudge sundae.
You get to decide what is the measurable progress to your goal is but make it specific so your brain knows when you have achieved it. If your goal is to lose weight this year, put a very specific number to it. Or perhaps your goal is to start running this year. Then put a specific distance you want to achieve by the end of the year.
#2- Decide what problems need to be solved in order for you to meet your goal
What are the problems that you specifically will encounter when you are trying to meet your goal? Let’s say that you want to lose weight but you know that every time you try to exercise your low back starts hurting. Then low back pain that is caused by exercise will be the problem you need to overcome in order to lose weight.
If your goal is to start running this year but you have knee pain every time you start running then this would be the problem that needs to be overcome.
Each of us has a problem that needs to be overcome in order to meet our year end goal. How do I know? Because if you didn’t have a problem standing in between you and your goal – you would have already achieved it! What problems have you encountered or do you see yourself encountering in regards to this specific goal?
#3 – Define the what, when, where, and why of the problem
“Low back pain” is a very general term. It is more likely that instead of your low back hurting in a specific way all the time, you have a specific area that hurts at specific times. For instance, your “what” could be low back pain. The “when” could be when you have tried exercise including bike riding and rowing. “Where” could be your living room when you try to stand up after sitting on the couch. “Why” could be a combination of factors that are causing you to experience the pain. For example, your body mechanics could be off to the point of causing degradation when you are exercising. Learning to move properly (for instance, with a physical therapist) could help you with your “why”.
#4 – Write it all down
The simple act of writing down will clarify and solidify your intentions. In this example, we started with the goal of losing weight. We then identified the problem that was keeping us from this goal. And, created specific parts so now you might say:
“My goal is to lose 25 pounds this year. I will do this through bike riding or rowing 3 days a week. So that I can exercise 3 days per week, I will need to deal with my low back pain that occurs with bike riding and rowing. This is likely a result of poor body mechanics as I have never been instructed in proper movement to relieve back pain. I intend to resolve my low back pain with exercise so I can be more active and lose 25 pounds in 2021.”
Excellent! You have now created your long term goal. You have taken the second step to creating an action plan to meet your goal for 2021. In the next blog post, we will discuss how to break down your goal into smaller chunks.
In the meantime, you may want to consider how physical therapy could help in improving your overall health this New Year. You may not have a specific physical complaint like the one we described in this post, but working with a physical therapist can actually help you prevent these issues from arising later on! As we continue to age, it becomes more likely that we will experience back pain and numerous other issues. The great thing about PT is that it strengthens your body in all the right ways to guard against joint degeneration, stiffness, muscular weakness, and loss of balance (just to name a few benefits).
If you want to know if one of our specialists can help you, apply for one of our FREE Discovery Visits right here in Maple Valley!