Six strategies to stay on task for achieving healthy New Year’s Resolutions

Millions of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions at the start of each year. Near, or at the top, of those lists is usually a goal to be more healthy, lose weight, or be more physically fit. Patrick Bell, sales manager, fitness director and personal trainer at the <a href=”http://www.sportsacademy.com/” target=”_blank”>Sports Academy and Racquet Club</a> in North Logan, says gyms everywhere are busy this time of year as people try to achieve those goals.

“It’s easy to make up your mind that you want to change and start to take action,” Bell says. “You start going to the gym, you start going to classes or you start eating well. Then the hard part is to continue that and make it a consistent thing in your life, because that’s what it takes to be successful: consistency.”

Bell says you need strategies to succeed long term and breaks them down into six separate categories.

1-Determine Your Why

“I have a saying that ‘if your why doesn’t make you cry, you’ll never fly.’ It has to be a good why,” he explains. “It can’t just be ‘I want to get fit, or I want to lose body fat or gain muscle. It has to be something good.”

He says one of the primary reasons people fail is not having a strong enough ‘why’, not wanting to lose weight badly enough. 

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“Will power is the ability to do something very difficult, or refrain from something,” Bell explains. He says that could be avoiding fast food, or going to the gym after a long day of work. There are two ways to improve will power, Bell explains.

“Number one is to decrease your stress. Stress is the number one cause of someone losing their will power. They get consumed with work, or finances, or family issues, or other emotional things that are going on in their lives. That causes stress that deters them from their fitness or health-related goal.”

The next way to increase will power, Bell says, is creating small instances of success. Those would include recognizing short-term goals and progress that is, in fact, being made (like avoiding soda, or going to the gym for x number of days this week).

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3-Spark Emotion

“If you want to better your chances of accomplishing your New Year’s Resolution, you need to spark emotion throughout the day,” says Bell. “That could be putting up a picture of someone’s physique you want to look like, or maybe an old picture of what you used to look like when you were significantly over weight.” 

Keeping pictures like these where you can see them regularly, says Bell, will help keep you on track and spark an internal emotion to drive you.

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4-Have a Support Group or Workout Buddy

“Studies show that if two or more people work toward a common goal they are more successful,” he explains. “If you can find somebody with a similar goal to yourself, and you work together with that individual, the chances are you will both succeed.”

However, do not choose someone too close to you. Don’t choose someone who will let you slack on achieving your goals, Bell cautions.

5-Pay it Forward

“Help somebody accomplish what you are trying to do. If you have a friend or family member that you are trying to accomplish the same task, you are going to want to stay on track because you don’t want to let them down,” exclaims Bell.

As their leader or motivation, you won’t want to quit to let them down, Bell explains. While helping others achieve their goals, you can more easily achieve your own.

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6-Learn a Skill / Inefficient Movement

Too often New Year’s Resolutions focus on the scale, or the shape of our bodies, says Bell. That can cause undue stress or deter people from achieving their goals.

“One thing you can do is learn a skill. Take swimming for example. I’m not a great swimmer,” says Bell. “To help increase my fitness, if I learn to swim better I’m not only going to take my mind off the scale and get good at something, but I’m going to thrash around and have so much inefficient movement in that pool that I’m going to burn a lot of calories. It’s going to help me toward my fitness related goal.”

Bell says anything athletic, any kind of sport would qualify as learning a skill, like racquetball, basketball, tennis, rock climbing, etc.

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The Sports Academy and Racquet Club provides many of those opportunities at its 86,000 square foot fitness facility in North Logan. It features a large weight room to build lean muscle, a variety of cardio equipment, fitness classes, a swim academy, a tennis academy and tumbling for youth. The club also has a large staff of fitness trainers, coaches and instructors to help people achieve the goals they are striving for.

Since 1996 the club has accommodated a wide variety of age groups striving to meet or keep their fitness goals, says Bell. From the tumbling and swim classes for youth to activities and equipment for active adults to classes geared specifically to older adults working to maintain strength, balance and health.

One final piece of advice from Bell in keeping and maintaining New Year’s Resolutions: stay committed. 

“People sometimes don’t know what the word commitment means,” Bell says. “What commitment means to me is determining what you want and doing all the necessary required actions to get what you want, despite thoughts, feelings and emotions.”

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