New Year’s Resolutions – Goal Setting for Your Health

Date:  January 6, 2016


New Year’s Resolutions – Goal Setting for Your Health

2016, silhouette of a woman standing in the sun, blue skyIt’s no surprise that the most common New Year’s resolutions relate to health goals such as weight loss, eating better, moving more and reducing stress. Yet, these often are the most likely goals to be broken. Many of us choose to jump on the bandwagon setting lofty goals early in the year, but often lose momentum as life gets busy and predictably unpredictable. Yet, it is still possible to achieve these in 2016 by focusing on smaller, more achievable goals that may lead to the bigger objective.

Interestingly, health-related goals like weight loss, smoking cessation and increased exercise can also help you improve your musculoskeletal (MSK) health. Maintaining a healthy weight and incorporating regular exercise to your day may help to prevent MSK injuries and conditions in the future that could keep you from enjoying the activities you love.

So, this year start by identifying what is realistic and achievable for you to do consistently to support your overall goals. In fact, take a moment to consider your goals and map out a plan of how these could be achieved – even invite family and friends along. Ask yourself first why achieving this goal really matters to you – often we can visualize what we want to achieve but forget about the true reason behind the goal that helps us stay focused.

Here are some tips to help keep realistic goals in 2016:

  • You are 10 times more likely to change bad habits if you identify and write down a New Year’s resolution3. This year, write your resolutions down on a piece of paper and keep it somewhere where you will see it every day.
  • People who make New Year’s resolutions have more self-liberation, stimulus control, reinforcement management, positive thinking, and avoidance strategies to keep their resolutions4, 5. Focus on why these goals matter to you.
  • Try focusing on ONE small change at a time rather than several.
  • Celebrate your success between milestones to keep you motivated. Small shifts towards your goals are worth celebrating!
  • Focus on the present: what’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?

The Canadian Chiropractic Association would like to wish everyone a happy and successful New Year, and commend everyone for investing in a happier and healthier you.

1. Curry, S.G., Marlatt, G.A. (1985). Unaided quitters’ strategies for coping with temptations to smoke. In S. Shiffman & T.A. Wills (Eds.) Coping and substance use (pp. 243-265). New York: Academic Press.
2. Norcross, J.C., Ratzin, A.C. (1989). Ringing in the New Year: The change processes and reported outcomes of resolutions. Addictive Behaviours, 14, 205-2
3. Norcross, J.C., Mrykalo, M.S., & Blagys, M.D. (2002). Auld lang syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year's resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), 397-405.
4. Prochaska, J.O., Norcoss, J.C.& DiClemente, C.C. (1995). Changing for good. New York: Avon. Wilde, O. (1909). The picture of Dorian Gray. New York: Pearson.
5. Prochaska, J.O., DiClemente, C.C. & Norcross, J.C. (1992). In search of how people change: Applications to addictive behaviors. American Psychologist, 47. 1102-1114