In the beginning of a new year, lots of people make New Year’s resolutions. Common goals include learning a new skill, losing weight, getting fit, and spending more time with family and friends. According to FranklinCovey – a research management firm – one third of people give up on their goal(s) by the end of January! Even more people fall away from their goals over the next couple of months. Why is that?

It can be very disheartening when we don’t meet our goal(s). The problem is that we often set ourselves up for failure. We set goals that are too lofty, unachievable and/or unrealistic. Or we set goals that we think we should do – what friends, family and society think we should do. Rather, your goals should be SMART:

• Specific: Say your goal is to lose weight. What exactly does that mean? Do you want to lose 5 pounds or 50 pounds. It sounds silly, but if you don’t have a specific goal, you won’t know when your goal is met!

• Measureable: Weight loss is an easy example because that can be measureable. What about a goal of going to the gym? It is measurable when you determine how many days per week you go. You can also set a goal of how much time you spend there.

• Achievable: Setting a goal of running a marathon – when you’ve never run before – may not be realistic and may be too overwhelming. Start out small – maybe ½ mile – and build on it if you decide that’s what you want to do. Also, for a goal to be achievable, you need to have adequate time and resources. If your goal is to learn a new language, but you can’t find a class and don’t have a computer to take an online class, you may have set yourself up for failure!

• Relevant: Your goal has to be something you care about, something you want to do, and something you are motivated to do. If it’s something you feel outside pressure to do, you’re unlikely to meet it. You have to be ready to achieve it. If you want to quit smoking but you know you’re not ready, maybe that’s not the best goal just yet.

• Time-based: Set a date by which you want to achieve your goal. If your goal is to learn how to knit, for example, set a completion date for knitting a scarf. Set mini-goals that take you step-by-step to your bigger goal, that way you can celebrate smaller accomplishments!

Lastly, be sure you have a specific plan to achieve your goal(s)! Research shows that the more specific your plan is, the more likely you are to follow through with it and achieve your goals. It also helps to tell your family and friends about your goal(s). Having the support of people who care about you is so beneficial!

If your goal is to feel better – if you’re suffering from neck pain, back pain, jaw pain, or other joint aches and pains – call PDR Clinics or visit our website at Our physicians, physical and occupational therapists are here to help you achieve your goals!