By Ellen Thornburg Ellen Thornburg is an Exercise Physiologist and Personal Trainer at the Duke Center for Living at Fearrington. She received her BA in Exercise and Sports Science and Psychology from UNC.

How To Make A Fitness Resolution

By Ellen Thornburg Posted December 26, 2012 at 1:23 pm

On January 1, 2013, will you make a resolution to better yourself through the course of the year? It is estimated that 100 million Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only a fraction will see the goal through to success. No matter the theme of your resolution, there are multiple tricks to seeing results. For exercise-specific resolutions, the following tips are of the most successful and frequently used tactics to achieving and maintaining your health goals.
 

1. Make only one resolution. This might seem lackluster, however individuals experience far more success focusing all of their energy on one change as opposed to dividing their energy and efforts among multiple goals.

2. Start small. Lofty goals are great for novels and action-packed movies, but they are unrealistic for daily living. Be realistic in choosing your goal so that seeing progress early on will keep you motivated to continue on your path to wellness. A sufficient goal would be adding one group exercise class to your workout routine each week, as opposed to attempting to attend them all.

3. Plan for you. Along the lines of realistic goals, you should also think about what would best benefit you. It is easy to consume ourselves with ideals and irrational norms that unfortunately exist, however they are nearly impossible to obtain, much less maintain. What change can you make that will make a difference in your life?

4. Put it in your calendar. Just as you would schedule a doctor appointment, haircut, or special night out, plan your workouts. If you have set aside a particular day and time to exercise, it is less likely you will miss your exercise. And it does not hurt to write it in pen!

5. Allow for flexibility. In addition to scheduling workouts, plan a backup routine. Should you find yourself running late, caught up in a prior engagement, or otherwise unable to keep your date with the gym, plan around the rest of your day to take the stairs rather than the elevator, park further away from your destination, or even lift your grocery bags a few extra times.

6. Means of accountability. Find a friend with similar fitness goals so that you can either schedule workouts together, perhaps at a group exercise class, or to contact each week to compare trips to the fitness center. Hiring a personal trainer or participating in programs are also motivating ways to hold yourself accountable.

7. Celebrate your success! Do not forget to reward yourself for all of your hard work and diligence! Each step you take toward a healthier lifestyle is a step to be commended. Schedule a massage appointment once a month or plan to relax in the hot tub after workouts. However you choose to reward yourself, the pride you feel in accomplishing a goal is worth the effort to approach success!

No matter the number or type of goals you decide to set for yourself, may you experience success, happiness and health in 2013!

image by NTU via Flickr

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