Can you believe it is already another new year? I’m sure many of us are ready to say good riddance to 2017, but seriously, where does the time go? It’s that time again – time for New Year’s resolutions. What kind of resolution maker are you? Do you make big resolutions that you never keep? Or small ones that you know you can keep with little effort? Maybe you do not make any at all. Resolutions are good, because they help us to grow into a better version of ourselves. But we need to make sure to set ourselves up for success. The words that we use to describe our goals (or resolutions) are key helping us succeed (but you still have to do the work!).
The first step in writing your resolution is to make it specific. Sure, we all want less pain, but how much less? Less of a certain type of pain? Maybe you want to reduce the number of headache days per month. Perhaps you want your fibromyalgia or arthritis to reduce so that you can walk two days per week. Maybe you want to reduce the number of days each month that you take pain medication. The choice is up to you – just make sure that you can identify what it is that you want. If this step is difficult, ask a friend or family member for help. Just make sure that whatever you choose is something that you really want.
Next, we need to make sure we can measure the goal. How will you know that you have there if you don’t know where “there” is? This goes back to being specific. How many days? How much less? Sometimes it seems easier to not make it measurable. If I do not say how much better, then I could have achieved it with any amount. But that also means that there isn’t a clear goal. Is one less headache day acceptable, when you are having 15 headache days/ month? Maybe. I am not here to judge your goals – just help you set them. We have tools that can help you measure changes in your health.
We want you to succeed with your goals. In order for that to happen, you have to be able to achieve them. It seems unrealistic for me to say that I will have no more headache days. But I can definitely reduce them. I never thought that before. Even the doctors didn’t seem to think it was possible. But it was. I no longer take daily medicine. It is great!
We also want to make sure that the goal is a little bit of a stretch. Do you eat out every meal? Could you cook at home two times per week? Let’s make that goal enough of a stretch to help you grow, without being so difficult that you could never achieve it.
Maybe you want to exercise, because you know it is good for you. You want to have the energy to keep up with your kids. The exercise recommendations for adults are at least 150 minutes per week. That’s a great goal, but is it realistic when you are in chronic pain, and maybe have not exercised in year? Probably not. Set a goal that works for you – not anyone else. Do not measure your success compared to anyone else. Only measure yourself against where you came from.
Sometimes called time-bound, there needs to be a time frame attached to your goals. Ideally, it should be something that you want to do now. Setting goals with a later time frame makes you less likely to try to work on them. If you have multiple goals, they could build on one another. For instance, maybe you would like to exercise, but you have no idea how you could with your current level of pain. The first goal could be to reduce your pain enough to exercise. Then you could add a goal on exercising two days per week.
Sometimes we can achieve our goals on our own. Other times we need help. We would love to help you find your best health in 2018.