New Year, New Goals: Goal-Setting for People With Parkinson’s
Published: January 16, 2023

The start of a new year marks the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your goals and set new ones for the coming year.

As you’re already aware, physical activity is an important element in helping people with Parkinson’s live their best lives. If one of your goals is related to physical activity, look no further!

We recognize it can be challenging to change existing behaviours. Studies have shown that a supportive environment and social support (like the U-Turn community!) are important for maintaining behavioural changes. Other important factors include the development of habits, self-regulation, availability of psychological and physical resources, and motivations like satisfaction with the outcome.

Making changes, big or small, doesn’t need to be intimidating. With the right tools in your pocket, you will be able to crush your goals!

The importance of setting SMART goals

You’ve likely heard of SMART goals in the business sense, but what does it mean when it comes to your personal goals?

SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. We’ll dive into each of these in more detail!

Instead of listing broad goals like ‘be more active’, aim for more specific goals about what you want to accomplish. For example: “By the end of June 2023, I will participate in physical activity for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.” If you’re really stuck on what to include in your goal, think of answering the simple “who, what, when, where, why and how.”

Setting specific goals is important, but it’s also critical that they’re measurable so you can track your progress over time and see how far you’ve come. The previous example allows you to track the number of times you exercise every week, and for how long.

While it’s tempting to set your sights high, your goals should be realistic—but also challenging enough that it’s a break from your usual habits. Developing attainable goals will help keep you motivated and accountable. Consider if you have the time and resources to work toward your goal. If not, what would you need to attain it?

Think about the “why”—Why are you setting this goal? Why is it important to your health? Considering the relevance and bigger picture will help you formulate the goal itself.

Set a target date to reach your goal or break it into smaller milestones—whatever is more likely to keep you motivated! Deadlines will also help keep you accountable, and allow you to measure your progress over a specific timeframe.

I’ve set SMART goals. Now what?

Make a point to regularly revisit your goal(s) to measure your progress. Even if you don’t make your exact goal, take the opportunity to celebrate your successes and fine-tune any future goals. Either way, you’ll still be on your way to a healthier lifestyle!

Join the U-Turn Parkinson’s community to support you in realizing your physical activity goals, and make sure to check out our other blog posts and follow us on social media for even more helpful information.