Well it’s that time of year again…time to pick your new years resolutions. For many people this is the time of year that they make a commitment to themselves to start a fitness routine, get back into exercising or maybe take up a new activity like running, cycling, skiing, or even curling (it’s harder than it looks trust me). We have all heard the stories, made the jokes, and probably even done it once or twice ourselves about how people make these plans, maybe stick to them for a month or two and then for one reason or another stop. Well I have good news there are many strategies to sticking to your plan, and of course a visit to your favorite physical therapist is one of them!
The first thing to do to ensure success with your resolution is to share your commitment with family and friends (and loyal blog readers too, of course). Ask them to help make sure you stay on track. Maybe they will want to be your running partner, or maybe they can help by simply asking how your curling training is going? Either way they can be an active participant in your goals. My plan for the year is to get back to running and competing in triathlons, so I dared my younger sister to do a half ironman race with me in August. We both signed up so if I back out I’ll never be able to show my face at a family event again.
The next step is to have a plan, coming up with a goal is always the easy part it’s getting there that is the challenge. Make sure you take the time to set-up a plan to reach your goal. Maybe you will want to start working with a trainer, or higher a coach to devise a plan for you. Figure out how your plan is going to fit into your current lifestyle, and if it won’t what is going to have to change. Do you need to wake up earlier to get that training in, or can you set aside more time at lunch? For me I have decided the only way to do it is to get up a little earlier each morning to get my training in because I realized that when I try to do it later in the day something always comes up.
I know we are always told to think positively, but this is the time you get a pass on that. Now you need to determine what could derail your plan, what problems might you run into along the way? By identifying them from the start you can lookout for them, and have a plan to make sure they don’t get your off track. I know my biggest problem will be finding the time to train, so I’m starting off training at a time I normally don’t do anything else, so I’m not giving anything up (except sleep). The rest of the family will be sleeping (except the dog), so I won’t be sacrificing family time, very few patients are interested in the 4:30am time slot so work won’t get in the way. I even invested in some flashing lights and warm cloths so not even mother nature can get in my way.
One thing I commonly see as a physical therapist, is people who set goals that they never get a fair chance at reaching because pain and/or injuries get in their way. This is where your favorite PT can come in handy when setting up your plan. This year I don’t want you to come in, in February or March with pain, sad that you may not get to run that marathon, or wondering if you will drop all the weight you were trying to. I want to see you now at the beginning of your plan, so that we can evaluate you, determine what might hold you back and make the first step in your plan addressing these things before they affect your goals. You may have underlying core weakness that could set you up for a whole set of problems down the road if they aren’t addressed first. Maybe you have weakness in your gluts that will let you run 3 miles, but if you try for 4 your knees will not be happy. You might have a muscle imbalance in your shoulders that is fine for sitting at your desk (in reality it’s most likely caused by sitting at your desk, but that’s a whole different blog post), but that will leave you with some painful shoulders if you try swimming or doing push-ups.
No matter what goal you are setting for yourself this year, I hope these tips help you successfully reach them. Happy New Year, and stay tuned to see how much I beat my sister by (I really hope she doesn’t read this all the way to the end).