Give ’em Health

Trying to stay fit? Out with the old and in with the New Year’s Resolutions

By Star Ritchey

There’s nothing better than a new year. A new year means we can start over, right? Right! The starting over couldn’t come at a better time—after Thanksgiving and Christmas, when most of us have let our diet go a little, are having a hard time getting to the gym, and are suddenly feeling frustrated and sluggish. In comes the New Year’s Resolution. If you’re like the majority of the population, your resolution has something to do with getting fit, losing weight, and improving your overall health. However, with February rapidly approaching, most of these resolutions are probably already forgotten.

Some studies show as many as 20% are broken in the first two weeks, and 80% are broken within the year. Each year, it seems that New Year’s Resolutions are made simply to be broken. To avoid being in the majority and breaking your New Year’s Resolutions, consider why this might be happening and do the opposite.

Most people have good intentions but after a few days or weeks of seeing no results, the bad habits start coming back. Unrealistic goals are a large part of the problem. I’ve heard people resolve to go to the gym twice a day, give up all desserts “forever” and so forth. When you fail at doing this just one time, you give yourself the excuse to give it all up. Another problem is the way people view exercise—as punishment for their bad eating, boring, painful, and time consuming, just to name a few. Why not look at exercise as a stress reliever, a reward for long work days, a way to boost your energy and mood, and possibly even your “me time.”

Here are some steps you should follow to help you achieve your resolution:

1. Set a goal that is realistic and timely: you cannot expect to see drastic changes in days or weeks, however, you can expect to see small changes in a short amount of time.

2. Decide if you’re able to hold yourself accountable: if you’re unsure you’re able to do it alone, find a peer. It is much easier to stick with an exercise program if you have someone holding you accountable. For you, this may be a Personal Trainer, a group class, or even your own family.

3. Schedule your exercise: if you’re not used to having exercise as part of your daily routine, you will need to schedule it. Write it on your day planner, put a sticky note on your fridge, plan to meet a friend at the gym, or schedule an appointment with a trainer—whatever it takes, just make sure it’s on your schedule, and treat it as any other appointment you can’t miss.

4. Track progress: measurable goals, such as losing weight, lowering blood pressure, running a race, etc. are easy to track. Get a fitness journal (I often recommend one with a place to track your daily food intake as well as daily fitness), and write your goal on the front so you see it daily.

5. Reward yourself: if you are meeting your small goals, you should reward yourself. If you’ve been eyeing a new pair of running shoes, something for yourself or house, or even a nice dinner out on the town, make this a reward for meeting one of your goals. It will make it all the more worth it.

If you’re confused about where to start, schedule an appointment with a trainer to assess your needs and help guide you in the right direction. The most important thing to remember is not to give up. Despite setbacks, which are sure to come, make sure you keep going in the right direction or you will find yourselves with the same resolutions and another year behind next January.

Here’s to a healthy and happy New Year!

Star Ritchey is a certified personal trainer at Inbalance Fitness.

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