The key to making a resolution is to stick with it. Here’s how you can do it:
· Set realistic expectations: The No. 1 reason people routinely fail to keep their resolution to improve their health is that they set unrealistic expectations. Oftentimes, you expect immediate results, but each person is different and it takes time to get in shape or lose weight. Be consistent, remain diligent and change will come.
· Find your motivation: Another reason people fail is that they don’t have the proper guidance and aren’t sure where to start. It’s easier to lose interest if you don’t have a solid understanding of what you need to do to lose weight or get in shape; or if your fitness trainer is not helping to motivate you. There are a variety of programs available to help you get in shape, but you need to determine with the help of a good fitness expert which one is the right one for you. Once you do see the hard work paying off, it will be easier to stay motivated. But remember, results won’t be immediate, so develop a plan and stick to it.
· Make it convenient – and fun: Find a location close to home or work and fit your workouts into a schedule that makes the most sense for you. Spread your workouts out throughout the week and keep a change of workout clothes handy in your car, just in case. Also, make sure your workouts are fun. Find several activities you like to do (for example, Pilates, kickboxing or swimming) and intersperse those with your regular workouts. Find an exercise buddy who will help keep you accountable (and vice-versa).
· Consult with your doctor: Before you start any exercise or weight loss program, consult with your doctor to develop a plan that works best for you. Joint and bone problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease are some examples of health issues that could lead to more problems if you begin an exercise program, even something as simple as stretching, so make sure you get the all-clear before you start.
· Avoid doing too much, too fast: It’s easy to be gung-ho in the early going, only to overdo your workouts and become fatigued or sore. Listen to your body, start slowly and increase your commitment as you make progress.
· Stay away from the bad stuff: Cut back on sodas, coffee and other beverages that lack any apparent nutritional value. Again, don’t move too fast. You’ve likely been at the mercy of these sugary monsters for a long while and they tend to get back at you in the form of headaches. Eliminate them by reducing your intake each week. There are many unhealthy foods out there, but prepackaged meals high in sodium and fast food are diet killers. Alcohol is also high in calories. Become reacquainted with your kitchen and buy nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Enjoy the occasional dessert instead of depriving yourself of all of your guilty pleasures. Deprivation breaks motivation.
· Kick the tobacco habit: If you smoke or use tobacco products, there are a variety of treatment options available to help you quit. Talk to your primary care physician about your options. Pharmaceutical treatments might be one option, but addiction counseling, hypnosis, acupuncture and other alternative approaches could offer solutions. The National Acupuncture Detoxification Association specifically designed a protocol to interrupt compulsive or addictive behaviors.
· Plan your meals: If you need to adjust your diet, hire a reputable personal chef to prepare your meals for you. Many chefs prepare two weeks worth of healthy meals and freeze them. They will also instruct you on what foods to avoid and when you can indulge. A poor diet will lead to poor results.
Tips to help you find the right gym:
· Ready for the crowds? Ask how the facility plans to deal with the influx of new members, especially during a new year. Will they place limits on their cardiovascular machines?
· Tour the gym at the time of day you plan to work out. Is it a peak time? Will you have to wait to use cardio machines and equipment you’ll need or get into to fitness class you want? The goal is to find a gym that fits your schedule so working out is easier for you, and you’ll have few excuses for skipping.
· Ask about a free day pass or even trial memberships. Take advantage of these to find out if the gym offers what you’re looking for and is a place you’ll feel comfortable.
· Does the gym have what you’re looking for? Take a look at the weight machines, cardio machines, aerobics room and the schedule for group fitness classes. The more a gym has to offer, the more likely you’ll be happy as your routine changes and grows to include more variety.
· Ask about staffing levels and their qualifications. How many trainers are on staff, and how many are on duty at any given time? Are they certified, professionally trained, etc.?
· Make it a family affair. Many gyms offer childcare, as well as fitness activities that are good for your children. They also offer family membership packages if you have older children.
· Confirm the costs and what they include. Most gyms require a one-time signup/joining fee, and then charge a monthly membership fee, but others require a contract. Find out what is included in these fees. Are there extra fees for group fitness classes? Does it cover parking? What happens if you want to cancel the contract? Most require 30 days written notice.