Don’t make a New Year’s Resolution for your health and fitness goals. Do THIS instead:

  1.  Make an appointment with your primary care physician and get a full physical. Do the same with any specialists you should visit.
  2.  Visit a Registered Dietician. Up to six visits are usually covered by health insurance. Get a personalized meal planning approach which considers your medical history and uniqueness. Throw your friend’s meal plan away.
  3. Inventory your kitchen and clean it out. If it’s in your home you will eat it. Therefore, get rid of the junk. That’s right, throw it away. Replace unhealthy foods with healthy alternatives. Make yourself work for treats by having to get up and go outside of your home to consume them. Avoid storing treats in the house for “later consumption.” A box of chocolates eaten in two days versus two weeks is still a box of chocolates consumed. Same thing with all of that alcohol. Yeah, I know.
  4. Write your goals down, copy them, and post them everywhere (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, office, phone, etc.). Make it plain. Simple. Use visual reminders, quotes, pictures, and phrases. Make your goals S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely). Start small. We don’t become unhealthy overnight and we won’t regain our health overnight.
  5. Get an accountability partner. This is not a friend who will give you passes. This is someone who will remind you of your stated goals and your commitment to reaching them. This can be a friend or hired professional. Do whatever works for you.
  6. Plan exercises and meals, including snacks, for the week. Write them down. Prepare a shopping list from the meal plan. Schedule workouts by number, not day. For example, Day 1, Day 2, etc. Don’t marry workouts to days of the week. Set a number of workouts you plan for each week. If you miss a Day 1 which was planned for Monday, do Day 1 on Tuesday and continue to follow the plan for the week. Keep flexibility and rest days in your schedules. There is no need to exercise seven days per week. Four is sufficient for most people except elite athletes or those of us who just like it.
  7. If you are a beginner, walk. That’s it. The body simply needs to get used to moving. It will adapt fairly quickly after a month or so of consistent movement and will be prepared to advance to more challenging efforts soon.
  8. If you’ve fallen off the wagon, start where you are, not where you were. See #7 above. The body will get back into the swing of things but not if you damage it but doing too much too soon. Don’t beat yourself, or your body, up for slacking off. It happens. Consistency is key.

Get ready for a new lifestyle instead of a New Year!