Feeling Great: Partner up to achieve your goals

We're soon approaching the end of January, and by now a lot of us have already pushed aside the New Year resolutions. Can you relate? Or are you still going strong?

Thursday, 18th January 2018, 8:46 am
Walk with friends to keep up your goals.

If your resolutions have come to a standstill, or even if you’re still going strong – I wanted to share something I heard from a patient that may just help pick your resolutions back up, and importantly, make sure you keep enjoying them.

Last week I was enjoying a coffee in our Hartlepool clinic and one of our patients, Julie, was asking me if I’d set any goals for the New Year.

After I told Julie my plans, I went on to ask about hers, to which she said: “Yes! I’ve set a few but this year I’ve decided not to do them alone, I’m partnering up and sticking to them with a friend instead, and so far so good! We haven’t skipped a walk or gym visit yet!”

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Which got me thinking – maybe Julie’s onto something.

It’s a well-known fact that if you partner up with a friend who has similar goals, you’re a lot less likely to rain check on a 7am stretch class if your closest friend has signed up on the mat next to you.

So it makes sense – you don’t have to go it alone.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions on how you and your friends can boost your dedication to any goal you set (even if you’ve slipped off track).

Have honest check-ins with each other. Involving a friend adds an objective perspective. Someone with an outside view can help you see the ways you might resist change and help you find ways to stick to new habits.

For example, while you might not realise it, your friend might be able to pick up on the fact that you tend to skip workouts when you feel extra sluggish.

Having someone to help you stay on track can keep you accountable and make it feel easier to break free from habits you want to change.

It’s true that when you have someone to help you keep focused, you gain a reason to follow through as we don’t like to let others down.

Ask a friend for help. Let’s face it, there’s something out there that you don’t enjoy doing – whether it’s cardio, cooking new healthy recipes, walking a tougher route, there’s always something!

Maybe you want to run more but you hate cardio – if that’s the case and you have a friend who runs regularly, asking them to run with you and help you get started can provide the encouragement you need to not give up.

Maybe you want to take up yoga but you don’t want to go to a class alone. If you have a friend who already goes, or know someone who wants to begin, ask if they’ll come along with you. Sometimes having someone to do activities like yoga and other classes with, makes it more enjoyable and gives you a spot of ‘me time’ in the week to wind-down. And you get to catch up with friends too.

Finally, a little bit of positive reinforcement.

Whenever small milestones are met, I see them as an opportunity to reinforce what has been accomplished. Doing so can inspire you to continue on toward the finish line and help you feel accomplished along the way. And a little bit of bubbly or a massage after that long run or hike just feels that much better with your friend by your side.

Sticking to New Year’s resolutions doesn’t have to be tough. And if you’ve let them slip already, don’t go beating yourself up over that either – every day is a new opportunity to get back on track with them again, and this is just one way to help make sticking to them that bit easier.

l If you’re experiencing back pain which is stopping you from sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, download my free back pain tips guide which includes actionable tips that I give to my patients at the Paul Gough Physio Rooms.

A free copy is available here www.paulgoughphysio.com/back-pain