Your Shape

The most common New Year’s resolutions are to exercise more, and to lose some weight. Did you make that commitment this year? Have you started yet? Do you have a plan? Have you already given up? Many of us don’t even make resolutions anymore because we know we never follow through. If this sounds like you, why not make this year different?
Many resolutions are too extreme in the planning stage. They set us up for failure and we ultimately give up. If you choose to go full force into a new regime/plan, what happens when you can’t go to the gym one day, or you eat some pizza? We usually get disappointed or mad at ourselves. And then a few days later it happens again, and once more you feel like you’ve ‘failed.’ Soon you give up and don’t exercise for two weeks or longer, you can’t seem to get into those healthy eating habits, and the resolutions fade away for another year. This time, instead of thinking that you’ll exercise five days a week, or lose ten pounds a month, change your focus to a more realistic plan.
Let’s focus on physical fitness. First, make a list of why you want to make these changes in your life. Will exercise help you to: climb stairs without being out of breath, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, relieve stress, enhance your mood, lower your blood pressure, improve arthritis pain, sleep better, tone up some muscles, help your bones, help with your blood sugars, be more flexible, increase your metabolism? The list of benefits of regular exercise is huge. So make one for yourself to realise how you can benefit. You will be more motivated that way.
Then decide to make some small changes to increase your activity level. We all know what to do – take the stairs, park far from the entrance of the store, change the TV manually, exercise/stretch while watching your favourite program, walk around when talking on your cordless phone, meet a friend for a walk rather than lunch, do side leg lifts while cooking, etc. As little as five minutes extra a day can help you drop 3-4 pounds this year. Imagine adding 10, 15, 30 minutes of those extras?
Plan exercise into your life – whether it be going to the gym, walking, taking a class, or exercising at home. This year, instead of saying you’ll do it three or four times a week, (and possibly setting yourself up for failure when you get busy), mark each time you exercise on a calendar and when you reach a certain number, (ten or twenty times) reward yourself. This way there is no failure. It may take you a month or a year – but you will have success with this method of tracking.
Take a course or try a new activity that involves physical fitness. If it’s fun, it becomes an ‘enjoyable activity’ rather than ‘exercise.’ Ultimately, you’ll realize all the benefits that you’re getting, both internally and externally, and exercise will become a permanent addition to your life, rather than just a temporary phase.