Did you wake up on New Year’s Day with a sudden urge to run a marathon? Maybe lose a few kilos? Or finally get those injuries sorted? January is great time to establish goals for the year, giving you something to work towards. However, many people lose motivation quickly, and fail to stick with their goals in the long term.


This insight will cover effective goal setting for health and fitness aspirations, and give you strategies to enhance your chance of sticking with them!


Are you setting yourself up for failure? Make sure your goals are SMART!


To give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your goals, you need consider the details. It’s all well and good to say “I want to run a marathon!” but how exactly are you going to do that? The SMART framework is a great way to make our goal more realistic and increase the likelihood of achieving them.


Specific – Make the goal as detailed as you can and avoid vague goals. Try breaking the goal down into smaller sections that are specific to the overall goal. For example, I want to run 3x a week and go to the gym 2x a week to improve my running.


Measurable – Make sure the goal and your progression can be measured. For example, I want to improve my half marathon time by 3 minutes.


Achievable – Is this something you can reasonable do? Don’t make it too far out of reach! If you’re struggling to run 1km, maybe a full marathon is a bit out of reach in the short term…


Relevant – Is the goal relevant to your overall values and long-term objectives? Do you have other running or fitness related goals for the future?


Time bound – Set realistic end dates for the goal and milestones throughout this. For example, I want to run the Sydney marathon on the 15th of September.


Another aspect of goal setting to consider is what type of goal it is. One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight, this is considered an ‘avoidant’ orientated goal. Whereas a goal of becoming fitter and stronger is an ‘approach’ orientated goal. Research suggests that approach orientated goals are more likely to be successful than avoidant orientated goals (1).


Setting the goal itself is very important, but there are many aspects that will help ensure we keep them.


Motivation versus consistency – what drives you?



It doesn’t matter how motivated you are on day 1, if you don’t have consistency with your new habits, then your goal will be difficult to achieve.


Here’s some additional ways to encourage consistency in your goals:


Join a community – Establishing yourself within a friendly community of people that share your goal can be a great way to stay consistent. Things like sporting clubs or gyms, community events like Parkrun, or online support groups can give you support on your journey.


Prioritise fun activities/habits – Chose activities or habits that contribute to your goal that are actually enjoyable to you! Using exercise as an example, many people don’t enjoy going to regular commercial gyms – they might find it boring, or they’re unsure of what to do. Instead find a physical activity that you love, so it doesn’t just feel like a means to an end.


Hire a professional – The health and fitness industry can be a confusing space to navigate if you’re new, which can be very overwhelming. Whether it be a personal trainer to create you an exercise program, a nutritionist to get your diet on track, or a chiropractor to sort out those injuries, getting professional help with ensure you stay committed to your goals and can guide you along the way.


Role of the chiropractor


Recent evidence is supporting the role practitioners such as chiropractors can play in supporting back pain patients through education and structured exercise programming using goal setting strategies (2).


At DMC Health and Wellness, we’re here to support and guide you throughout your health and fitness journey. By providing safe and effective chiropractic care to decrease pain and improve function, we can help manage your injuries, provided tailored exercise programs and health coaching to ensure you achieve your goals.


About the authors


David-ChiroDavid McNaughton is a clinician, researcher and lecturer. He is the director and principal chiropractor at DMC Health & Wellness. He has an extensive background in the diagnosis and management of chronic pain. In addition to his clinical studies, David holds a Master’s of Research and PhD in Psychology. He regularly publishes his research in peer reviewed medical and psychology journals. David has taught both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Chiropractic and Psychology.



Isaac Searant completed a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science, Master of Chiropractic and Master of Research at Macquarie University. His research aims to understand the clinical decisions health practitioners make about diagnostic imaging. His clinical interests include spinal pain (neck and back) and sporting injuries. Regardless of the condition, his goal as a chiropractor is to work collaboratively with patients.




  1. Oscarsson M, Carlbring P, Andersson G, Rozental A. A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. PLoS One. 2020 Dec 9;15(12):e0234097.
  2. Pocovi NC, Lin CC, Latimer J, Merom D, Tiedemann AC, Maher CG, Tulder MW, Macaskill P, Clavisi O, Tong SK, Hancock M. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a progressive, individualised walking and education programme for prevention of low back pain recurrence in adults: study protocol for the WalkBack randomised controlled trial. BMJ open. 2020.



No responses yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *