Making New Year’s resolutions is a common tradition for many of us around this time of year, unfortunately giving up on those resolutions is often a tradition that follows not too far behind! It is estimated that only 8% of those who make a New Year’s resolution are actually successful in achieving their goal.
How do we identify resolutions that we can be resolute about? The answer is in the question! We have to IDENTIFY specific goals that are IMPORTANT to us! It is great if you want to be healthier in the coming year, but how important is it to you? Is it important enough for you to be willing to change your diet or to join a gym (that you actually go to)? Setting goals is only the first step. All the hard work comes after. Without the drive and motivation to reach the goal, it simply becomes another forgotten promise.
Along that same line, it is important to make your resolutions specific. “I want to be healthier” is not the same as “I am going to work out for 30 minutes three days a week.” or “I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months.” You have to have measurable outcomes to know when you have successfully achieved or fallen short of the goal. Many people are more successful at achieving a large goal if they break it down into parts. This can be very helpful regarding weight loss. The big goal is to lose 10 pounds in two months, but the little goal is to lose 1.5 pounds per week. Stair stepping gives you a gauge on progress and offers opportunities to celebrate successes.
Massage therapists have a fabulous opportunity to be part of helping their clients attain their New Year’s resolutions by being a source of support and accountability! Many of us already do this throughout the year as we develop relationships with our clients. Still, the New Year is a great time to re-visit the subject as many clients are already thinking about what they want to improve in the coming year.
I find it helpful to both myself and the client to write the goals down and clarify the objective. Once we have identified the primary goal and set several milestone goals, I make a copy for the client to take home, and the original goes into the client’s file. Depending on the goals and appropriateness, I will connect at future sessions or via phone to track progress.
When helping clients with goal setting, keep a few things in mind:
- Goals should be realistic and attainable.
- Goals should have clear, measurable outcomes.
- Goals should be broken into smaller milestone goals that can be used to track progress.
- Goals should be written.
- One or two goals are enough. Get those going before making more!
- People are more successful if they have support and encouragement. Provide that.
In addition to helping clients by encouraging their success, massage therapists are often materially participating in making that success possible. If the client has physical limitations such as pain and postural distortions, they may have a harder time losing weight or making that trip to see their new grandchild. The work we do as therapists can be the difference between success and failure. As you assess your client’s goals, look for opportunities to support their successes and invest in them.