The dawning of a new year brings with it a wave of resolutions. Everyone, from the young to the old, views the upcoming months as an opportunity to start anew, to rectify wrongs and to create fresh possibilities. More often than not, these avowals of self-improvement revolve around health, much as I’m sure, yours do. You want to eat better, exercise more and break the habits that have been, as of yet, unbreakable. But that’s exactly what you said last year, and we all know how well that went. You went to the gym for a week and a half before opting to forgo the nightly exercise in favor of Happy Hour. And while you were decidedly happy from five to six every evening in February, you were far from healthier. So, how can you make this year different? How can you make the past’s fleeting oaths the future’s healthy lifestyle?
Start by being specific. Making broad statements will lead to nothing but loopholes and reasons to rescind your promises. Rather than swearing, then, that you will workout more, choose to focus on an aspect of fitness you’ve been ignoring. For men, this could mean devoting one day a week to flexibility; for women, it could be a renewed focus on strength training. Then, make sure that your goal is attainable. This means not only that it is within the realm of possibility but that it is also something you will be motivated to achieve. If within hours of making your resolution, you are dreading following through, there’s no hope that you’ll last for 52 weeks. Find something that will make you happy AND healthy. If that means taking up a martial art or trading in running for swimming, so be it. It’s okay to be different.
Once you’ve hammered out the details of your resolution, don’t be afraid to use the resources available to you as aids. The internet has become a trove of health information. Web sites such as Revolution Health, WebMD, the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association offer you tips and guidelines for how to adopt a healthier lifestyle. There are also online communities full of people just like you, struggling to maintain their gym routine and shun the tempting sweets. Away from the computer, you have your peers. Use your family and friends to keep you on track. In fact, make joint resolutions. Together, you’ll be less likely to give up. And if all else fails, keep track of your progress. A tangible record of how you’ve been doing will force you to be honest about your resolution. If you start to falter, you’ll know, and you’ll catch the problem before it becomes a lost cause.
This year can be different. This year the resolutions can stick. It will just take a little preparation, a little dedication and a lot of determination. I know you can do it. I know you have what it takes to make 2008 healthy.