Small Goals Key To Keeping Resolutions

By Chelsea Katz Kilgore News Herald, Texas

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) One fitness professional says that when it comes to New Year's resolutions, many people make the mistake of going "all out" for two or three weeks but then quickly burn themselves out.

Kilgore News Herald, Texas

As the first of the year approaches, the question of resolutions becomes more constant, as do the predictable responses of eating better, working out more and variations of those.

"We never have a line for signing up; we have a line for about the first month," Rebecca Dibbell, Kilgore College Parks Fitness Center receptionist, said, noting most of the people who sign up throughout January say it is their New Year's resolution.

By March or April, though, the number of people coming to the gym begins to dwindle, she said, especially those who cited their resolution and were frequently in the gym after Jan. 1.

One way to avoid being one of the people who only lasts the first three or four months, she said, is to take it slow at first. Baby steps are the key, Anytime Fitness Kilgore Manager Jan-Michael Bradford said, not going all-out from the first day.

"That's a common mistake a lot of people do," he said. "They start off headstrong, and they go all out for two or three weeks and they burn themselves out, so set little goals and take baby steps and gradually work your way up."

"Don't overwhelm yourself," Fitness X owner Roxann Vega said. Many times, people whose New Year's resolution includes fitness will cut sodas, candy and commit to working out every day. "You're setting yourself up for failure right off the bat. That is way too much way too soon, and odds are you're going to fail."

Rather than pledging to go to the gym every day, Vega said, people should pick three days.

"If you come three days, then the next week you only make two, then the next week, make four. You don't have to be perfect," she said.

The first step, though, is to simply walk through the door, Vega said.

To do that, multiple gyms are running specials to start 2017 to help people take the first step.

When it comes to working out, Bradford recommended people find something they enjoy doing or can at least tolerate and then find a workout partner.

The extrinsic motivation is there, Vega said, when people decide to go the gym to reach a goal of looking a certain way, feeling better or getting healthier. The intrinsic motivation, though, is what keeps a person going to the gym to get results.

"Most people don't have that," she said, noting the extrinsic motivation can be as simple as wanting to fit into a pair of jeans. "If that's what gets you in the door, then that's great, but we're looking to build a love of fitness. That's exactly what I want to do here."

The key to finding that intrinsic motivation is working through the 'ugh' phase.

People see the glamorous lifestyles and careers of bikini models and power lifter, but Vega said, "Everyone, no matter who you are, struggles with going to the gym. It's just some people suck it up. That is the only thing that separates me from someone that has tried to exercise and they stop and try to exercise and they stop. The only thing is I sucked it up."

Even on days when she does not feel like going to the gym, Vega said, she has to go because it's who she is. "When you go it's amazing. It changes your whole day; you get so excited," she said.

With classes, including Zumba and boot camp, and one-on-one training, Vega said, her gym, which is designed with women in mind, is similar to going into an expanded home gym with a personal trainer.

After beginning a new exercise routine, Bradford's tip for seeing results is to not overindulge where food is concerned.

"Everyone deserves to treat themselves... Instead of doing a whole cheat weekend, have a cheat meal," he said. "You can still get away with going out and having your pizza and beer or cupcakes and ice cream, whatever it is that you crave. Use that as a reward for yourself. If you have a good week of working out, on the weekend have your cheat meal, but just make sure you jump right back on it; don't let it snowball into a cheat weekend and then it's a cheat week."

A diet does not necessarily mean using a plan or scheduling weigh-ins, but for some people it could be as simple as watching what and how much they eat.

"You can have those things you want, just don't eat too much of anything," Kilgore's Snap Fitness Manager Courtney Calderon said. "You don't want to limit yourself too much where you're like, 'I hate this; I don't want to do this.' Just do it in moderation, and you can still have what you want."

"Three months is all it takes," Vega said about making a healthy lifestyle change.

The first three months is critical for people wanting to make exercise and healthy eating part of their lives but also presents the biggest struggle to overcome not wanting or not having time to go to the gym, Vega said.

"Make the time," she added. "Nearly everyone in society watches a couple hours of TV in the evening, especially since we have DVR. Take out that hour. If you want it, there's a way to get it done... If you want a purse, you're going to do whatever you have to do to get that purse. If you really want weight loss or to eat healthier or to exercise, you'll find a way."

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