Witness To Fitness

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by Keven Rush, Certified Fitness Consultant

As you can imagine, the first of the year is a busy time for the fitness industry. New Year's resolutions bring many new converts into the world of health, and fitness. And every year, those of us who write about these things like to take the opportunity to tell people why living healthy throughout the year should be at the top of their resolution list.

Well, as much as I like to try to do things a little different than the norm, I can't pass up this opportunity, either. I just wouldn't be true to my profession if I didn't try to convince all of you that focusing on becoming healthier during the rest of the year deserves some consideration. Besides, how would a "New Year's resolution" column sound if you read it in August?

Making resolutions is easy. Keeping them isn't. So I'd like to start off the year with some tips on how to stick to the most common fitness resolutions.

1. Be specific. Specific behavior changes are easier to keep than non-specific ones. Instead of resolving to "exercise more," decide to attend an aerobics class at 5 p.m. three times a week. Instead of resolving to lose 10 pounds, make up your mind to walk for 30 minutes every night after dinner. Whatever change you decide to make, be specific.

2. Change for the right reasons. Don't decide to change your habits because you think it will please others, or because you think others will like you better. Change to improve your life in ways that will help you live healthier and get more enjoyment out of living.

3. Believe in yourself. Before you try to change your behavior, you must first have a change of heart. Believe in what you are doing, and truly believe that you can accomplish your goal. Find a role model. Someone like you who has accomplished what you are about to. If they can do it, so can you.

4. Be realistic. Make sure your plan of action is one that will fit into your lifestyle. Set realistic goals. Make changes as easy and convenient as possible.

5. Be creative. Maybe the behavior you want to change can work together with other goals. Do you need to exercise and spend more time with your family? How about taking the family to the park. The kids can ride bikes and play while you do some brisk walking. Do you want to meet more people? Take a class that allows you to exercise and make new friends.

6. Anticipate problems. What will prevent you from sticking to your resolution? Make a plan for coping with those inevitable problems in life. Most of all, do not let a few days of relapse turn into a year of unfulfilled resolutions. Life is full of compromise. Do your best to get back on track as soon as possible.

Build a support group. Enlist the help of family, friends and co-workers. If your resolution includes quitting an addiction such as smoking, drinking or overeating, join a support group. You will not only help yourself, but you may also help others in the process.

7. Above all, make life fun. Reward yourself for sticking to the plan. Find new ways to enjoy the benefits of your new lifestyle.

Good luck. I hope you achieve all the goals you set out to accomplish this year.

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