Culture

7 Basic Steps to Help You Complete your 'Get Healthy' New Year's Resolution

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“Exercise more” or “lose weight” are both popular New Year’s Resolutions.  Unfortunately, sometimes our busy lives, lack of willpower, insecurities, or confusion as to where to start keep us from accomplishing exercise goals.  It doesn’t need to be this difficult.  You need to do as Nike says and “just do it.”

Here are 7 steps to get you started:

Step 1: Make Exercise a Priority in Your Life

Only YOU can force yourself to work out, run, play kickball–whatever you do.  You need to make the conscious decision to make time in your schedule to get some activity in. Look through your calendar.  Make two categories—label one MUST-DO ACTIVITIES and the other WILD CARD ACTIVITIES.

“Must-do activities” are things you have to complete that day in order to survive/avoid jail—such as, take a shower, cook dinner, pick up the kids, do laundry, or complete your taxes.

“Wild Card Activities” are things that you would like to do after the “must-dos” are done and aren’t necessarily time-dependent.  Examples are: spray-paint the ugly, rusty mailbox, finish the last chapter in that funny book, watch that movie you borrowed from your neighbor, etc. Sort your activities into these two categories. For most people, “exercise” ends up in the WILD CARD ACTIVITY section. This is a no no. The key is to train your mind to view “exercise” as a “Must-do” activity–and follow through.  As soon as you convince your brain that exercise is a priority, your body will follow.

Step 2: Hold Yourself Accountable

Tell your spouse, friends, kids that you are planning on making a lifestyle change.  They are sure to be encouraging and might even join you!  If others know about your new commitment, they will be sure to ask you about it…and you won’t be able to hide on the couch, eating chips.

Other ideas:

– Join a work-out class or running group—having other people around you, sweating and feeling miserable (with you), will motivate you to keep going.

-Bring the family dog on that jog or roller-blade ride—he will have limitless energy and will keep you smiling through it all.

-If you really need someone to keep you in line, hire a trainer or get your fitness-guru friend to help out.

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Step 3: Document Your Progress

Keep a work-out calendar.  It might be semi discouraging at first, but document the length of your run, how long you did aerobics, as well as your starting weight and measurements.  Seeing progress will give you an extra boost of motivation.

Step 4: Have a Goal–or Many!

Why are you working out?  To lose weight?  Meet new people?  Have more energy?  Identify an “end goal.”  Also make sure to map out some intermediate objectives to meet on your way to that goal.  Ideas for intermediate goals: Lose 5 pounds, fit into a size 6, be able to jog 3 miles without stopping.  Whatever will motivate you to keep going, write it down.

Step 5: Start Small

If you’ve haven’t worked out since college, I don’t suggest walking into a gym and hitting a spin class.  You’ll probably regret it–and end up leaving discouraged.  The key is to start small.  To begin, fit 20-30 minute segments of “exercise” into your schedule (do toning exercises, a quick aerobics tape, or walk around the block).  Work your way up to running for 30 minutes, completing a spin class, or doing weights with your Hulk Hogan look-alike friend.

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Step 6. Switch It Up

Don’t feel like you need to hit the treadmill every day for the rest of your life.  Break out of the box.  Try a yoga class, taekwondo, racquet ball, or swimming to get your exercise kicks.  Rotate hitting the gym and exercising outside. Monotony/boredom are killers of motivation.  If you find yourself dreading working out because it. is. just. so. boring, switch up your activity!  There is no law that says you need to run or walk to exercise.  Play baseball with your fantasy football buddies, roller-blade, play Capture the Flag with your kids, or do Pilates on your front porch.  You should enjoy what you are doing–while getting fit.

Step 7: Reward Yourself (No, not with ice cream)

When you meet your intermediate goals and/or end goal, reward yourself!  Buy new clothes for a slimmer you, go on vacation with your family after you lose a milestone amount of weight or complete a marathon.  Make sure to give yourself small rewards along the way.  It’s good to be disciplined, but this isn’t boot camp.  You’re allowed to give yourself a treat of some kind when you know you’ve done good. Enjoy the new you!

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It’s February, time to kick that New Year’s Resolution into high gear. You can do it!