A new year: goals of bettering health and how to get there

Community Jan 13, 2020 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Have you made a new year’s resolution to improve your health in some way? We spoke to Karen Rowa, a psychologist at the anxiety treatment and research clinic of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, about the advantages of such goals, how to accomplish them and what to do in case of setbacks.

Benefits of having goals around health

Rowa says the new year is a great time to set goals pertaining to your health, be it physical, emotional, mental and/or social well-being.

“Depending on the goal, it can have significant effects across all aspects of wellness,” she said.

I know it’s good to have goals, but how do I achieve them?

Rowa says it’s about getting SMART.

The mnemonic stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, and each word refers to how to formulate your goal.

Rowa says the evidence-based formula is used a lot in the field of therapy.

The framework has been around for awhile, she said.

OK. Tell me more about SMART.

Specific entails stating exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” you could say something like, “I want to lose five pounds.”

Measurable includes using smaller, mini-goals to measure progress.

Rowa says a non-measurable goal could be, “I want to get in better shape.”

“The measurable goal would be, ‘I want to be able to walk a kilometre without stopping,’” she said.

Achievable involves making your goal reasonable. For instance, having a goal of losing 20 pounds in a week is specific and measurable, but it may not be realistic. A more reasonable goal might be to lose four pounds in a month.

Got it. Go on.

Realistic includes setting a goal that is relevant to your daily routine.

Rowa says this involves looking at how your goal fits into your life.

It’s about making sure that it’s not something that you’re counting on luck for or somebody else to make a decision on; that it’s something that actually could happen and that you have control over, she said.

Lastly, timely means giving yourself time, but setting a deadline.

Rowa says when it comes to new year’s goals often people make them for a whole year — and that’s OK.

“It’s not as good as making a goal that’s timely, that in a month, two months or three months you can take a step back and look at whether you’re getting there or you’ve got there,” she said.

What are other keys to being successful?

Rowa says people are more likely to stick to a goal if it’s something that’s personally meaningful.

It’s essential to reflect on what’s actually important to you and to not just set a goal because you think it should be important to you, she said.

What if I have a goal and follow SMART, but stumble along the way?

Rowa says the pathway to any kind of successful outcome is usually quite bumpy, so try not to get discouraged over any lapses or relapses.

“At the outset expect that you’re going to have periods where it may not go well and build that into your plan,” she said.

Rowa says if you get off track, don’t think of it as something that’s unreasonable or has great meaning in that you’re not going to reach your goals.

Instead, be ready to try again and put some creative brainstorming in place about what got in the way and why, she said.

Rowa says if it’s something that was out of your control, like you got sick, wait until you’re feeling well again, go back to your SMART goal, start up again and then keep going.

If it’s something that was in your control, it’s essential to reflect on a few things, she said.

“Is it actually the right goal? Does this really mean something to me or is this one of those shoulds? And is it really an achievable and realistic goal?” Rowa said. “Change can be hard, so it’s important to begin small, go one step ahead of where you are — not four — and take it one step at a time.”

 

A new year: goals of bettering health and how to get there

Community Jan 13, 2020 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Have you made a new year’s resolution to improve your health in some way? We spoke to Karen Rowa, a psychologist at the anxiety treatment and research clinic of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, about the advantages of such goals, how to accomplish them and what to do in case of setbacks.

Benefits of having goals around health

Rowa says the new year is a great time to set goals pertaining to your health, be it physical, emotional, mental and/or social well-being.

“Depending on the goal, it can have significant effects across all aspects of wellness,” she said.

“Depending on the goal, it can have significant effects across all aspects of wellness" — Karen Rowa

I know it’s good to have goals, but how do I achieve them?

Rowa says it’s about getting SMART.

The mnemonic stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, and each word refers to how to formulate your goal.

Rowa says the evidence-based formula is used a lot in the field of therapy.

The framework has been around for awhile, she said.

OK. Tell me more about SMART.

Specific entails stating exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” you could say something like, “I want to lose five pounds.”

Measurable includes using smaller, mini-goals to measure progress.

Rowa says a non-measurable goal could be, “I want to get in better shape.”

“The measurable goal would be, ‘I want to be able to walk a kilometre without stopping,’” she said.

Achievable involves making your goal reasonable. For instance, having a goal of losing 20 pounds in a week is specific and measurable, but it may not be realistic. A more reasonable goal might be to lose four pounds in a month.

Got it. Go on.

Realistic includes setting a goal that is relevant to your daily routine.

Rowa says this involves looking at how your goal fits into your life.

It’s about making sure that it’s not something that you’re counting on luck for or somebody else to make a decision on; that it’s something that actually could happen and that you have control over, she said.

Lastly, timely means giving yourself time, but setting a deadline.

Rowa says when it comes to new year’s goals often people make them for a whole year — and that’s OK.

“It’s not as good as making a goal that’s timely, that in a month, two months or three months you can take a step back and look at whether you’re getting there or you’ve got there,” she said.

What are other keys to being successful?

Rowa says people are more likely to stick to a goal if it’s something that’s personally meaningful.

It’s essential to reflect on what’s actually important to you and to not just set a goal because you think it should be important to you, she said.

What if I have a goal and follow SMART, but stumble along the way?

Rowa says the pathway to any kind of successful outcome is usually quite bumpy, so try not to get discouraged over any lapses or relapses.

“At the outset expect that you’re going to have periods where it may not go well and build that into your plan,” she said.

Rowa says if you get off track, don’t think of it as something that’s unreasonable or has great meaning in that you’re not going to reach your goals.

Instead, be ready to try again and put some creative brainstorming in place about what got in the way and why, she said.

Rowa says if it’s something that was out of your control, like you got sick, wait until you’re feeling well again, go back to your SMART goal, start up again and then keep going.

If it’s something that was in your control, it’s essential to reflect on a few things, she said.

“Is it actually the right goal? Does this really mean something to me or is this one of those shoulds? And is it really an achievable and realistic goal?” Rowa said. “Change can be hard, so it’s important to begin small, go one step ahead of where you are — not four — and take it one step at a time.”

 

A new year: goals of bettering health and how to get there

Community Jan 13, 2020 by Laura Lennie Ancaster News

Have you made a new year’s resolution to improve your health in some way? We spoke to Karen Rowa, a psychologist at the anxiety treatment and research clinic of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, about the advantages of such goals, how to accomplish them and what to do in case of setbacks.

Benefits of having goals around health

Rowa says the new year is a great time to set goals pertaining to your health, be it physical, emotional, mental and/or social well-being.

“Depending on the goal, it can have significant effects across all aspects of wellness,” she said.

“Depending on the goal, it can have significant effects across all aspects of wellness" — Karen Rowa

I know it’s good to have goals, but how do I achieve them?

Rowa says it’s about getting SMART.

The mnemonic stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, and each word refers to how to formulate your goal.

Rowa says the evidence-based formula is used a lot in the field of therapy.

The framework has been around for awhile, she said.

OK. Tell me more about SMART.

Specific entails stating exactly what you want to accomplish. For example, instead of saying, “I want to lose weight,” you could say something like, “I want to lose five pounds.”

Measurable includes using smaller, mini-goals to measure progress.

Rowa says a non-measurable goal could be, “I want to get in better shape.”

“The measurable goal would be, ‘I want to be able to walk a kilometre without stopping,’” she said.

Achievable involves making your goal reasonable. For instance, having a goal of losing 20 pounds in a week is specific and measurable, but it may not be realistic. A more reasonable goal might be to lose four pounds in a month.

Got it. Go on.

Realistic includes setting a goal that is relevant to your daily routine.

Rowa says this involves looking at how your goal fits into your life.

It’s about making sure that it’s not something that you’re counting on luck for or somebody else to make a decision on; that it’s something that actually could happen and that you have control over, she said.

Lastly, timely means giving yourself time, but setting a deadline.

Rowa says when it comes to new year’s goals often people make them for a whole year — and that’s OK.

“It’s not as good as making a goal that’s timely, that in a month, two months or three months you can take a step back and look at whether you’re getting there or you’ve got there,” she said.

What are other keys to being successful?

Rowa says people are more likely to stick to a goal if it’s something that’s personally meaningful.

It’s essential to reflect on what’s actually important to you and to not just set a goal because you think it should be important to you, she said.

What if I have a goal and follow SMART, but stumble along the way?

Rowa says the pathway to any kind of successful outcome is usually quite bumpy, so try not to get discouraged over any lapses or relapses.

“At the outset expect that you’re going to have periods where it may not go well and build that into your plan,” she said.

Rowa says if you get off track, don’t think of it as something that’s unreasonable or has great meaning in that you’re not going to reach your goals.

Instead, be ready to try again and put some creative brainstorming in place about what got in the way and why, she said.

Rowa says if it’s something that was out of your control, like you got sick, wait until you’re feeling well again, go back to your SMART goal, start up again and then keep going.

If it’s something that was in your control, it’s essential to reflect on a few things, she said.

“Is it actually the right goal? Does this really mean something to me or is this one of those shoulds? And is it really an achievable and realistic goal?” Rowa said. “Change can be hard, so it’s important to begin small, go one step ahead of where you are — not four — and take it one step at a time.”