Every year the same thing takes place right around Jan. 1. New Year’s resolutions are made and the gym is packed for about four weeks and then suddenly the numbers begin to dwindle and as January turns to February many of those “fitness resolutions” have been broken.
I know many of you have already decided that “getting in shape” is your goal for 2009. But have you really taken the time to reflect on what that means to you? Deciding to “get in shape” is a great idea, but without specifics, then the goal is often blurry. I would like to believe that for all of us there is a steppingstone to overall fitness. By this I mean a starting block, a hurdle to leap, a line to cross — you see where I am going with this? Whatever has kept you from becoming the person you see in your mind’s eye should be taken care of first.
If the last time you went to the doctor was in a prior decade, that is your steppingstone, GO and you will surely find out what you need to do, realistically, to take steps in a more fit direction.
If you avoid exercising because you don’t like to sweat, take up swimming or more meditative forms of yoga (because some do make you sweat big time) and you will soon find yourself craving activity.
If you have difficulty sticking to a healthy diet, start looking into local workshops or classes that help you create your own healthy diet that doesn’t involve sticking to a pre-designed menu. Remember, dieting doesn’t work; eating right and in balanced proportions does work.
If you have avoided stepping into a gym because of your own self-consciousness, I assure you that you are not alone. Your biggest hurdle is opening the front door — any door, any gym. There are literally hundreds of people who feel this way. The good news is that you don’t have to leap into the most challenging fitness class on the schedule. Most people who start out loving the treadmill eventually move into other areas, because the gym can be a really great social atmosphere to help keep you motivated.
If you really believe that you “can’t do it alone,” well I believe you are absolutely right! By this I mean that everyone needs someone to be their supportive rock, whether it is your spouse, your child, your best friend or a trainer. The first six weeks of anything are always the most difficult, and who doesn’t feel good if they have their own personal cheerleader?
Overcoming habits that have been in place for years is something that can’t be fixed by making a resolution on New Year’s Eve. The clock strikes midnight and you are still you, but are you prepared to take your body to new physical and mental challenges in 2009? The mind and body work together, so before you resolve to change the body, make sure you have addressed what part of your mind is making it difficult to make the change and it will be easier to open that door or pick up a bag of carrots instead of chips. Happy New Year!
Victoria MacKenzie, the group fitness coordinator for Ramona Fitness Center, has been a fitness instructor and personal trainer for 10 years.