How are your New Years Resolution’s going….

As we’re coming into March, now is a good time to reflect and see how our New Year’s Resolutions are going. Are you still exercising? Are you still eating healthy? Are you adhering to what you decided to change. Or have you slowly but surely slipped back to your old ways? There’s varying statistics out there on the percentage of people who achieve their Resolutions, with Forbes quoting that as little as 8% of people succeed in keeping their New Year’s Resolutions.The Business Insider UK quote 80% of people fail to keep their Resolution beyond the 6 week marker. In my opinion, the numbers and statistics don’t matter, the point is the majority who set Resolutions will fail.

Personally, I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. For the most part I feel people have good intentions when setting them , however they set themselves unrealistic goals. Occasionally, you may encounter somebody setting them for the wrong reasons – as in they want to be seen or heard to be doing X, Y or Z. Regardless of what category a person falls into, in both cases, they’re setting themselves up for failure. The other reason people tend to  fail, and this is what we see a lot of in clinic at this time of year, is that people’s bodies cannot cope with the new demands they’re asking of it. As a result, they start to pick up niggles which develop into Below are some of my tips to help you physically and mentally live a better and healthier 2018.

  1. Reflect your New Years Resolutions.

You had great intentions but you’ve failed. This might not be the first time, and it probably won’t be the last. Ask yourself why did you fail? Be honest with yourself. What happened? Was the exercise too tough? Too time consuming? Unrealistic? Whatever the reason was, learn from it.

  1. Be realistic. Be Specific.

If you set yourself a goal of ‘Eating healthier’ or ‘Being fitter’ back in January, the chances are you’ve already failed. These Resolutions are too vague, there’s too much wiggle room for excuses and reduced commitment. On top of that, there’s no tangible end/goal in site as a reward. An example as to how you could make these goals better would be ‘I’m going to prepare my lunch 3 days a week for January, and 4 days a week for February’ or ‘I’m going to be able to run 3km consecutively in 8 weeks’. Both of these are examples of SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timeframe). These types of goals are much more effective and much more rewarding. Don’t just have an end goal. Have shorter term goals to tick off as you go along, and reward yourself for reaching these milestones.

  1. Choose something you enjoy

It may sound too basic and simplistic, but so often I meet people in clinic who resent the exercise that they do. You will have a much better chance of sticking with change if you choose your activity wisely. These days there’s a form of exercise to cater to everyone’s interests – whether that be hill walking, zumba, mountain biking or badminton, my point is there’s so much out there. You’re fighting a losing battle if your continuing with a form of exercise you resent (an activity that doesn’t give you any satisfaction or sense of accomplishment afterwards). Coming from a Gaelscoil, one of my favourite phrases was “ag snámh in aghaidh easa”. It means fighting a losing battle, but for this example I prefer to use the literal translation: swimming against a waterfall. There’s great similarities between swimming against a waterfall and a New Year’s Resolution – it’s difficult. Most likely you can swim against it for so long, until eventually the power of the waterfall or your old habits will overcome your resilience.

Seek Help

Use your network of friends, family or coworkers to help you commit to and try a new activity or to give you renewed motivation to keep doing what you’re doing to achieve your goals. As I mentioned above, particularly at this time of year, we get a lot of new patients into the clinics complaining of pain since they started exercising. This can be very disconcerting and frustrating for people. They feel like they’re doing all the right things, but their body is breaking down and telling them otherwise and to quit. This is where we can help. During an initial assessment your physiotherapist will gather a history and do a physical examination to determine the diagnosis and why it’s happened. From there, it’s our job to help settle the injury down in the the short term and tailor your training programme with specific exercises in order to facilitate your longer term goals.

In conclusion, if you’ve failed your goals for 2018 so far, so what, that’s ok. At the top of this blog I stated that I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. I never said why. I don’t like them because I think they’re unnecessary. Why do we need to wait until the New Year to live a healthier life. Why not start now? With that in mind, and hopefully using some of the tips above, why not set yourself some new goals. Don’t wait for next year, don’t wait for next month, start now!