You’ve gone and done it again. You’ve set a resolution to exercise this year. Now how are you going to keep it?
Locke Ettinger, director health promotion at Dixie Regional’s Gateway to Wellness, offers the following suggestions on how to transform your fitness resolution into a healthy lifestyle.
Start with the right goal. “Your goals need to make you stretch, but make sure you’re not setting them too high. Don’t make your goal impossible by signing up for an activity that will discourage you. On the other hand, your goal should not be so easy that it doesn’t mean anything.”
Choose something you really want to do. “If you hate to run and then resolve to run, you’ll be unsuccessful. Pick something you like. Hike, swim, bike, walk, dance. Choose something you can really get jazzed about. Trying something new is invigorating.”
Set a schedule. “Carve out 45 minutes in the morning, at lunchtime, or before dinner. Make yourself an appointment and keep it. A lot of people carry phones with aps that remind them and help them track progress. You can even write your appointment on a regular old calendar. Help yourself keep the appointment by setting out clothes and making sure the bike tires are pumped up ahead of time.”
Resolutions don’t have to be made on January 1. “Continually reset and refocus throughout year. Every day is a new day. If you’ve missed a few days or even a few weeks, it’s okay to say ‘This is the first day of the next year of my life.’”
Create a support network. “Be open about your goals. Tell your partner, your friends, and your coworkers, and garner their support. Your chances for success go up if there’s a team in place that will bring healthy food options to staff meeting or push you out of bed in the morning. It helps us not give into the innate desire to be unhealthy.”
Look for opportunities to encourage others. “Partner with someone else who is trying to make a positive change. Sometimes we’ll do things for others that we won’t do for ourselves. We need to create a culture around us that promotes healthy activities. This is especially true when it comes to our youth. Sometimes we worry about the safety of having them ride their bikes to school or walk to an activity, but then don’t worry about the video games that they play endlessly. We are causing injury to ourselves—and our kids—through our sedentary lifestyles.”
Don't pursue one goal at the expense of everything else. “Make sure you’re not overlooking something of importance. Exercise is doable, but it should not overtake life so that family relationships suffer. We are healthiest—and happiest—when we are balanced.”
Dixie Regional’s Gateway to Wellness partners with individuals who are looking to establish a healthy lifestyle. The individualized program offers options for fitness testing, online accounts with feedback, exercise physiologists, dietitians, fitness coaches, physical therapists, classes, and more. For information, contact Gateway to Wellness at 435-251-3793.
Living Well represents a collaboration between healthcare professionals, The Foundation of Dixie Regional Medical Center (a not-for-profit hospital) and The Spectrum. Call 435-251-2108 for more information.