The media is full of ‘Set your New Year Resolution’ articles at this time of year. Here at The Practice at 322 we will go against the grain and suggest you don’t. New Year resolutions are not sticky (they rarely make it past January 31st), they are often negative (i.e. I will NOT do something) and they can be pretty fluffy. What we do suggest you do through is set yourself a 2019 goal.

Goals are great. They are the foundation of your success. They have been shown in study after study to increase motivation, commitment, concentration and confidence, reduce negative anxiety and ultimately improve performance.


Here at The Practice at 322 we are in the very privileged position that so many people share their goals with us. Whether they see us for osteopathy, massage or psychology, clients share their excitement and fears about the goals they have set themselves and that enthusiasm spreads to all of us so we look forward to hearing at each session how much closer they are getting to achieving their ambitions. These goals can be anything from completing a first marathon to recovering from a frustrating injury and walking pain free again. What they all have in common is a little bit of freedom; freedom to do something that will make them feel more positive about themselves and proud that they worked hard at it.

Some of the best people at setting and following goals effectively are athletes. After all, there is nothing that is much more motivating that seeing ‘Qualify for the Olympics’ stuck to your fridge! If we set our goals in the same way as athletes then we massively increase our chances of achieving them.

So how do elite athletes set their goals? They layer them.

  • Dream goal – What is the big thing you want to achieve? What, in a year’s time, will make you really proud that you mastered? The one rule with this is you need to be able to have direct control over whether you achieve it. If you want to win a race, pick the race, study previous results, see what time you think it will take to win, make that time your goal (rather than winning) and work towards that. Paula Radcliffe may come out of retirement to show up and still beat you but if you’ve worked hard you will have achieved your time goal and got faster and fitter in the process.
  • Performance goals – What will it take to achieve that goal? You will usually have about three of these goals. These need to be very specific, and usually something that will be a nice measurable benchmark towards your dream goal. Spread them out over the year so you can stay focused long term.
  • Process goals – these will sit underneath each performance goal and be specific actions you need to take in order to achieve that performance. Using these goals means you get to follow the progress principle and tick off these smaller achievements throughout the year so you continually get the buzz of success and can feel confident you are getting closer to your performance and dream goals.

Then it is really important you look back through your goals to make them SMARTER:

  • Specific – The more specific you are about your goals (giving yourself a very visible direction and target) the easier it is to stick to them and break them down into the processes you need to follow.
  • Meaningful – If you really understand ‘why’ you are making something your goal when you hit a slump the ‘why’ will get you back on track and keep your motivation high.  
  • Accountable – Telling people what you want to achieve will help you stay on track knowing they are likely to ask you about it.
  • Recorded – If you write down your goals and stick them up so you repeatedly see them the embarrassment of not sticking to them is a great prompt to keep going.
  • Timed – Every goal needs a deadline as otherwise they may drift and lose momentum.
  • Evaluate – Keeping track of your goals gives you a boost if you are doing well and a chance to make changes if a curve ball like an injury, illness or new job arrives in your life.
  • Realistic – A goal needs to be exciting and a stretch (to make you want to stay focused on it) but too much of a stretch and you’ll lose motivation or destroy yourself trying.

So, layer your goals and make then SMARTER and finish 2019 with a smile on your face and pride in your heart.