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Gooding’s guide to fitness — SMART New Year’s Resolutions

How many of you have joined a gym in January, determined to get fit, only to cancel the membership 6 months later?

As we all know, gym memberships fluctuate throughout the year. In November and December, a sorry few show up to use the dusty dumbbells, or use the squeaky treadmill. Workout equipment begs to be used, and personal trainers wait for clients to motivate and encourage.

Then January hits with reckless abandon. People make new promises to themselves to “get back into shape” to “lose 10 pounds.” Unfortunately, by the end of February, the gym becomes a much quieter place; the gym’s new members fall away, and the New Year’s Resolution promises are forgotten by many.

What happens to all those New Year’s Resolutions? In part, resolutions fail because people don’t recognize the motivation behind the goal. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds, ask yourself why you want to lose the weight. Is it because you want to keep up with your grandchildren? Is it because you want to decrease the number of medications you take? Most likely, you will be more successful with your fitness resolution if you focus on the motivation behind the goal. Grandchildren are a positive reason to lose weight, and you’re less likely to resent them than you are the bathroom scale.

Another reason why resolutions fail is because we aren’t setting ourselves up to succeed by setting realistic goals and getting the support we need.  This year, resolve to set resolutions you can succeed at, by setting SMART goals. Here are the guidelines for establishing a New Year’s Resolution that is SMART:

• Specific: Is this specific? (Example: I want to complete a 3.5 mile run.)

• Measurable: How will I know I completed it? (Example: I will have completed my goal of running 3.5 miles when I no longer need to stop for rest.)

• Action Based: What behavior or action will I be taking? (Example: I will dedicated three hours a week to training for my 3.5 run. I will spend one hour running on the following days: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.)

• Realistic: Is this realistic? (Example: I feel it’s realistic because I have a plan. I have the time to dedicate to my running goal and I’m giving myself adequate time to complete the goal.)

• Time lined: When will I complete this? (Example: I will run 3.5 miles, without stopping for rest, by April 30, 2010.)

Once you have figured out the motivation behind your New Year’s Resolution, and have clarified your SMART goals, write them down on paper, and remember to reward yourself along the way for the progress you’ve made.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, as I always enjoy hearing from my readers. Happy New Year.

Angie Gooding is an educator and a personal trainer certified through ACE (American Council on Exercise) and owner of Inspire Fitness & Training. She lives locally, and trains clients in a private location in Marysville. She can be reached at AngieGooding@comcast.net or www.inspirefitnessandtraining.com.

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