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Resolutions Out - Goal-setting In

A Happy and Healthy New Year, friends, clients and family! I hope you will avoid the pressure to make New Year’s resolutions which are destined to fail year after year. Maybe you’d consider doing some productive personal goal setting instead. I believe you will have a much better chance at success this way.

At the end of each year, we get inundated with pressures to make New Year’s resolutions. Some of us do and some don’t – but most who do, do not keep them even as long as a month and end up feeling badly about themselves or don’t even remember that they made one. I gave up this practice years ago as I only saw it as something that made me feel bad about myself as I don’t think I ever kept one long term.

So, here’s a much more viable alternative. How about doing some soul searching and come up with the one or two main things that you could change to make your life (and/or the lives of those you love) better. No more than 2 because it’s so hard to focus on more than that.

Here are my top 2:

1. My knees cause me discomfort much of the time and hinder my activities (kneeling, walking fast)

2. My body isn’t very strong or flexible

Now, those are very specific issues that I can address, not through resolutions, but through goal-setting. Many people find goal setting hard and I used to until it clicked. Let me help make it easy for you.

First, what is a goal? It is the end result or outcome you want.

Second, how do you begin to write a goal? I was discussing this with my grandson this morning as I was thinking of writing this blog and he told me about the SMART acronym that his boss uses for his staff . I’ve always followed this but didn’t know about actual SMART acronym – hopefully it’ll help you.

· S=specific: a very concrete change from present

· M=measurable: “I will make a $30,000 profit.”

· A=achievable: no pie in the sky, just realistic language that you know you can achieve if you accomplish the objectives (more on that later)

· R=relevant: defined as “suitable or proper in the circumstances”

· T=time framed: “in 6 months” or “by December 31, 2019”

So, armed with that knowledge, let’s write a goal statement for me and my knees. I know what’s wrong with my knees – I have torn cartilage, some arthritis, and inflammation from not eating clean and consuming too many carbs. Knees don’t like high carb diets – sorry!

Working through SMART:

· S= specifically I want to be able to kneel and walk without being restricted by discomfort

· M= I want a 75% reduction in discomfort and mobility limitation

· A= From past experience, I know that when I eat a low carb diet, I have much less knee discomfort and when I am more active, my joints work better

· R=My knee discomfort and mobility limitation definitely affect my daily life so I say that it’s quite relevant

· T=I am going to say that if I am faithful at meeting my objectives (coming next), I can meet this goal in 6 months.

So, here’s my goal statement:

Within 6 months (T), my knee discomfort and mobility limitation (S/R) will be reduced by 75% (M)

Now, that statement doesn’t say how that’s going to happen, it just says that it IS going to happen and it says what IT is and WHEN it is going to happen.

The next step is to write objectives, statements which are action steps we’re going to take to meet the goal. They should also follow the SMART method and each objective should have an action verb and time frame

Here’s my objectives – I have 5 but you may only need 1 or 2.

1. Beginning January 2, I will do the 5-week ReStart Program ( and continue to follow a keto style diet after that to decrease inflammation in my knees/body. I will allow myself an occasional day or meal with more healthy carbs and will go back to following keto without guilt

2. I will continue walking between 1 and 2 miles at least 5 days each week

3. I will continue participating in a yoga class 2-3 times each week

4. Beginning January 1, I will take my anti-inflammatory supplements 3-7 times each week

5. I will continue to participate in physical therapy as directed by my physician and physical therapist.

Only you can know if your objectives can help you achieve a goal but if you write them in the SMART language, you have a good shot at it. Please take the time to put your goals and objectives in writing even if it’s on a chalk board in your kitchen so you can readily be reminded of them. Make notes of your progress.

Now, don’t you think this exercise is more valuable than picking a New Year’s Resolution out of the air?? I’d love you to comment and share your main issue and a goal statement to address it. If you’d like my help with this exercise, you can send me a message here or on the contact page of my website at

I wish for us all a healthy and happy 2019! Here’s to good health!!

A note on The ReStart Program – It is a wonderful program to get us on the path to healthy eating and away from inflammatory foods. And I will be teaching it to live and online groups in the near future. Watch for information in my next post.


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