Keep Your New Year’s Fitness Resolutions Making resolutions are easy, keeping them are not. Here are 10 tips to stay fitness-motivated in the new year. BY ROVENIA M. BROCK, PHD
Get trim this year by keeping your fitness resolutions.
"I'm gonna exercise five days a week in 2008."
"My New Year's resolution is to join a gym."
"This year, I'm digging that bike out of the garage."
Sound familiar? Start here and make it happen.
1. Buy cool gear. Invest in a great pair of walking shoes and a nice workout outfit. Feeling good in new workout clothes will help you get in a positive frame of mind each day as you gear up.
2. Make exercise a family affair. It's easier to make healthy lifestyle changes when your kids or significant other are doing them too. Go bike riding or take nature walks with the family.
3. Get walking. Walking is free, easy, and one of the most beneficial exercises you can do. Walk outside as much as possible. Fresh air and sunlight are good for you—especially during the winter.
4. Start small. Most people try to do too much in the beginning. Then they get injured on gym equipment, feel overtired from too much exertion or decide they don't have enough time. Instead, build success by setting small goals—10 minutes a day even—then add time gradually.
5. Remind yourself that self-motivation is better than a wake-up call. We've all known people who change their diet and exercise habits after a health scare. Why wait for the crisis? Remember that starting a fitness plan will prevent the scary wake-up call.
6. Fight rationalizations. Don't let rationalizations sabotage your resolve. Not enough time? Shorten your workout, wake-up a half hour earlier, walk during your lunch break or exercise while you watch TV. Or do something fun: rollerblading, dancing or ice-skating.
7. Involve your friends. Kids and spouses aren't always the most supportive. Tell your friends about your plan to be more active in the new year. Schedule walks with them. Tell them you're looking for encouragement.
8. Notice small improvements. Perhaps the best motivators are the ones you notice in yourself. Is your skin radiant? Have you lost weight? Do your clothes fit better? Are people complimenting you? Have your aches and pains disappeared? Are you more energetic, or sleeping better? Remember these when your resolve is weak.
9. Keep it up for three weeks. Research shows it takes only three weeks to form a habit. Therefore, remind yourself that if you can just follow your fitness plan for 21 days, your chances of staying on it for all of 2008 are excellent.
10. Give yourself a break. There will be times when you don't exercise. Getting off track is a normal part of behavioral change. Don't beat yourself up—but do commit to starting fresh tomorrow.
Dr. Ro ( www.everythingRo.com) is Nutrition Advisor for The Today Show and Nutrition Contributor to NPR. Named by More magazine one of this country's top five nutritionists, Dr. Ro is America's best-known African American health expert, and the author of the best-selling Dr. Ro's Ten Secrets to Livin' Healthy (Bantam, 2007).