Start the new year right

Susan Dawson-Cook

Most people start out the New Year with fitness resolutions, follow them for a month or two and then abandon them for prior not so healthy living habits. By establishing realistic, measurable and time specific goals, you can become one of the few New Year’s resolution success stories.

Realistic fitness goals can be achieved without causing bodily harm. Embark on exercise programs conservatively, gradually increasing intensity and duration to avoid injury or undue exhaustion. If weight loss is on your agenda, make sure you plan to lose no more than one to two pounds per week and set realistic expectations for your body type.

Establishing measurable, time specific goals greatly increases your potential for success. During an initial personal training session people often say that they want to “lose weight” and “get stronger.” These goals are so non-specific they don’t motivate the participant or the trainer. When neither of us knows where we are headed, it is as if we are wandering through a forest without a compass. Specific goals work much better because progress can be tracked, which enhances motivation.

Make sure this year’s New Year’s resolutions follow the realistic, measurable and time specific formula. If you’re not sure how to get started, below are some examples of goals along these lines.

“I want to lose 25 pounds by my daughter’s June 15 wedding.”

“I want to find the most effective waist trainer and lose six inches off my waist by the end of May so I can fit into my favorite bathing suit.”

“Within the next three months I want to improve my flexibility so I can reach items on higher shelves in my kitchen and get up and down off the floor with more ease.”

“I want to do a strength and aerobic training program that will prepare me for my hike into the Grand Canyon this May.”

“I fell down in the grocery store parking lot last week. I want to improve my balance and ability to right myself in unstable situations so I feel less wobbly and don’t fall anymore.”

“I want to exercise enough that I can become less dependent on medications to regulate my (fill in the blank – blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and moods).”

“I’m always getting injured whenever I (golf, play softball, racquetball, tennis). I need a program which will adequately prepare me for the demands of my sport.”

Have your basic goals established? Now write down what you plan to do on a daily, weekly and monthly basis to achieve your long term goal. This outline will help keep you motivated along the way. Following the specific goals formula is the secret to setting and achieving goals. Get geared up and ready to make 2015 a banner year for your health and fitness.

Susan is an AFAA certified group exercise instructor, personal trainer and freelance writer. Her SaddleBrooke employer is Vital Moves (850-4089). You can email Susan directly at [email protected].