As the dust settles after all the planning, shopping and celebrating that comes with the holiday season, it can be difficult to begin or return to an exercise routine. Like most Americans, many of us set New Year’s resolutions to lose weight or exercise more. Why do we set these same goals every year and yet still never obtain our goals? Well, in most cases, we become all “hyped up” on achieving our goals that we jump into them going 100 miles per hour. After a few weeks, our “hype” lessens and then falls back to the way we were before the holidays. Break this annual cycle by considering the following strategies to prepare you for healthy long-lasting changes:
• Be realistic. When setting goals, think about if they are actually achievable and develop smaller goals to put into place to make your large goal more achievable. And when writing goals put in rewards for your success. For example, for every so many pounds lost, treat yourself to new workout clothes or an exercise-related item.
• Create a plan. Setting a goal without formulating a plan is merely wishful thinking. In order for your resolution to have resolve (as the word “resolution” implies), it must translate into clear steps that can be put into action. A good plan will tell you A) What to do next and B) What are all the steps required to complete the goal.
• Remain flexible. If your resolution isn’t going so well, don’t quit. Consider making an adjustment in your timetable or the goal itself so that you can obtain your goal. Expect that your plan can and will change. Life has a funny way of throwing unexpected things at us, and flexibility is required to complete anything but the simplest goal. Sometimes the goal itself will even change.
• Look ahead and plan for “bumps in the road.” Think about the things that may get in your way for achieving your goal, and then think of ways that you can overcome the bumps. Also plan for some unanticipated bumps that you didn’t expect. And as you battle these bumps, remember to take it slowly and keep going.
• Don’t “go it alone.” Seek out some help by picking up a book, checking out a website, joining a class or asking a friend. Your chances of success increase dramatically when you get help and work with someone else to achieve your goal.
• Begin to think “year-round,” not just New Year’s. Nothing big gets accomplished in one day. Resolutions are set in one day, but accomplished with a hundred tiny steps that happen throughout the year. New Year’s resolutions should be nothing more than a starting point of your healthy year.
The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.
Information provided by Andrew Salgado, CPT, ACE Certified Health Coach, Fleur Drive Hy-Vee, 4707 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, 515-285-9002.