Help your resolutions, and yourself, grow steady and strong

What's your New Year resolution(s)? Better yet, did you even make one, thinking what's the point since you'd never stick with it anyway? This may especially be the case if it means making an effort to get into shape. Let's face it, some type of exercise program and a diet promotes a healthy body and is a great stress reliever.

Is it time, money or lack of energy and/or motivation? Here are some ideas to help you get started and stick to it.

Eliminate the excuses. Consider this your foundation to build on, your "Base 1." An excuse usually begins with, "but I dahdee-dah..." Rule of thumb: Check your 'but!" We don't mean your gluteus maximus either. 'But' is an easy term to use yet it can be one of the most restrictive in our lives. Always consider the alternatives before you quit. Once you've started a program, and life starts getting in the way, come back to 'Base 1' and examine your options to stay on track.

Set reasonable goals. You don't want to set your goals so high that you can't reach them, get discouraged and then quit.

Example #1: You wish to lose 60 pounds in two months by diet only or exercise only. NOT! It took some time for the weight to show up on them bones, and it is going to take a game plan and activity to get it off.

Example #2: Most folks don't get in a car or on a bus with their own choice of direction and expect to arrive at their destination. A road map, address, route number and/or directions are needed. The same holds true for fitness goals.

Choose an activity that you'll enjoy. Fact is this will aid in the maintenance of self- motivation, especially if you don't have a workout partner or it's not a team activity. If you try something new, give it a fair trial time to see and/or feel the results.

Choose more than one activity if your main interest is a seasonal type of sport, such as skiing. It is important to keep the body in good condition all year round, similar to maintaining a car.

Choose an activity that will fit your budget. Note that you are making an investment in self and that the various health benefits from engaging in some exercise programs may be well worth your consideration, such as weight training.

Choose an activity that has stages for various fitness levels, from novice to professional for example. Remember the goal is also longevity. You don't want to start something then have to quit, even if it is intermittent, because it physically demolishes you. Which brings us to the next item.

To all weekend warriors, are you cross training? Lots of times these weekend-confined activities are seasonal as well, like mountain bike riding. In such a case this is where weight-bearing exercises can be of assistance to you as well. If you're getting banged, bruised or are just exhausted from your sport of choice, a little bit of strength and conditioning can help curb these results.

Your work shift has changed, the workload has increased, the kids and their activities have increased and you are too tired from it all. You have to quit your fitness program. It's getting stressful.

The latter are 'buts' you need to check. We know because we live it day in and day out. It can become a vicious cycle if you allow it. Get a day planner or use the one that you already have and schedule a date for self. Yeah! Put yourself on the schedule because you make a difference. If you are having a bit of a struggle getting the time thing down, do abdominal exercises, pushups, isometric and cardiovascular exercises while you watch TV instead of being a couch potato. Not sure what type of exercises can be done at home (also while traveling), get a book on fitness, which covers such circumstances.

Not disciplined enough to start or stay on task. Commit to a team sport or get a personal trainer. This increases your level of accountability to stick to something because you've committed to one or more individuals. Keep a logbook.

Make notes of physical measurements, weight, energy level, attitude etc. prior to your program, and then continue the notes throughout. The notes should include both the good and the bad for reference and how you're progressing. This becomes your visual to stay on the path of fitness.

Lastly, remember you are what you eat. It's not just the physical activity that will get you to a healthy physique. What you eat, when you eat and how it is prepared makes a big difference in how well you function in an exercise program and sometimes whether you are able to complete your goals.

Self-sabotage can be your worst enemy. Take mental notes of what you are telling yourself and what you are or are not able to accomplish your quest for a healthier lifestyle.

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