by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner
You have the Center membership, workout clothes, quality sneakers, and a bunch of goals. But, do you have what it takes to make 2013 your year …
Resolve: verb. To reach a firm decision about.
Well, have you reached one? Until you have, you are without direction in a world that requires constant navigation. Before you rush to the treadmill and Group Fitness classes, or attempt that exercise ball left under the tree, make some firm decisions. Otherwise, your journey could be slippery.
Everyone loves a fresh year with a chance to start anew. Eager to lose weight, reduce blood pressure, and look better on the beach, we dive into January. Beware. The new fitness routine, trendy diet, and positive attitude often fades with the excitement. That’s when love needs to get tough. It needs to standby and flex its muscle when commitment waivers. Somewhere around February, a new TV show is discovered, a snow storm hits, or you catch a bad cold. Your love affair with a healthy lifestyle is compromised. Dreams evaporate into a snow-clouded sky.
Remember your resolve. It’s easy to love your new lifestyle when convenient. Sticking to the plan beyond the good days separates the serious from the New Year’s Eve champagne-talkers. Want it badly. It’s a requirement.
You may start with a single goal: to be the picture of health. That’s the problem. A picture of health belongs on pharmaceutical flyers and posters for day spas. You don’t often find it among family albums and scrapbooks. We humans come with issues.
Set specific goals: Don’t simply aspire to become faster, stronger, or thinner. Track your progress with an ultimate end in mind. Set smaller goals to target along the way. If your goal is to build muscle, determine an exact weight you wish to be lifting after a certain number of months. Pump iron in five-pound heavier increments until you reach your ultimate number. Acknowledge the small steps gained during your journey. You’ll enjoy an ongoing sense of achievement, which will propel you forward.
Expect setbacks: Obstacles are part of life. Consider their existence when working toward your best self. After all, they are among the pages of your life story.
A recent business column suggested to avoid creating a Plan B. The theory exists Plan B makes it too easy to give up on goals. Acknowledge there will be challenges though. Instead of Plan B, pad your goals with useful solutions to keep on track: an extended deadline, a more realistic weight loss, a floating fitness day for when a regularly scheduled one becomes a disaster. Don’t change tracks. Simply shift gears.
Acknowledge who you are: You are not the person you were 10 years ago, and not who you will be in years to come. You may have enjoyed aerobics, done complete in leotards and legwarmers, during the 80s. Today, you may discover your inner swimmer who prefers an aquatic fitness routine. Know yourself and use it to your advantage. It might take several attempts to locate the passions that are truly yours today. When you do, life will fit like an old glove in an updated style.
Know what you want. Don’t be a nomadic fitness traveler who dabbles in one program, experiment, or idea after another without ever making a commitment. Idle wandering is for vacations. Give yourself a deadline. Then, get down to business, with your fitness goals and all aspects of life.
Be realistic: Don’t expect to compete in a marathon if you have yet to accomplish a 5K. Setting goals too high can be discouraging and lead to setbacks. Instead, keep your goals challenging but reasonable. A personal trainer and the Center’s nurses can assist with this through regularly scheduled evaluations.
With professional guidance, find your current fitness level and use it as a springboard. Sometimes we overreach; other times, we do not give our body and mind enough credit. A fitness professional is skilled at remaining objective. S/he knows how far to push to get you beyond those holiday indulgences without introducing injuries. Meet your body’s specific needs with a routine that lends itself to improved functionality, whether a decreased stress level or improved golf swing.
If you follow an impractical–and possibly unhealthy–fitness program, you might get there. However, that doesn’t translate into improved overall well-being. By maintaining balance in your life, and not radically adjusting all aspects for the sake of one goal, you can adapt something like weight-loss efforts into a healthier lifestyle. This is more manageable for long-term success.
Go Public: If possible, share your aspirations with friends, coworkers, and others with whom you regularly interact. Just as a workout buddy or personal trainer helps you remain accountable to fitness goals, so can supportive individuals in other areas of life.
By letting others know your goals, hopes, and dreams, you invite them to cheer and support you. Awareness by others is a powerful motivator. Human nature will have you trying a bit harder to resist that morning donut or stomp out the afternoon cigarette break. Ask friends and family for specific ways in which they can help make goals possible. Return the favor and know the power of teamwork.
Consider forming a dream team with friends via a social network. Report back on your progress on specific days. Compare notes and strike up a little competition. You may find yourself taking an extra challenge or making a bolder move in the direction of your destination. Ask for feedback, too. You could receive insight that otherwise would not have been noticed. Sometimes, dreams are not really our own but rather pressures applied by our world.
For the sake of goal-setting and general self-improvement, New Year resolutions often migrate from their true purpose. At the start of a year, we are given opportunities– to be stronger, better, and try again. Why? To accomplish a happier life. If your resolutions– the decisions you make to advance your life– do not contribute to that end, ditch them.
The discovery process is a necessary part of fulfilling dreams. As we travel, we learn about ourselves. We become transformed by experiences and knowledge. Only when dreams are kept fresh can we succeed in seizing them. Again, you have to want it.
As we learned from 2012’s highlighted Center members, determination can help overcome the harshest obstacles. Resilience requires finding joy, even in small doses, and holding it tightly. Don’t look too hard. It’s around us, if we breathe and notice it. Resolve to make time for joy. For finding it. For sharing it. For accomplishing a healthy, balanced life by experiencing it. Strive to be the picture of health, but be happy with all your rough drafts.
Befriend joy and know your dreams. Make them big, and approach them with boldness.
Underwater swim: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thebmxgirl/7736249514/
Shining star: http://www.flickr.com/photos/artnow/1295118499/in/photostream/