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How to be Healthy in the New Year


Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions about their health and fitness: “I’ll go to the gym four times each week,” “I’m going to lose 30 pounds this year,” “I’m going to run a 5k.” But by the beginning of February, almost all of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. How can you overcome the odds to stick to your commitment and make a positive change in your life? Here are a few strategies, gleaned from my experience as a personal trainer and gym owner:

Lucas Davis
Lucas Ogden-Davis

Make it quantifiable
The more specific your goal is, the easier it is for you to plan for it, pursue it, and achieve it. A resolution to “lose weight” is too vague to be meaningful. A more specific goal, like losing ten pounds, is better because it gives you an objective, quantifiable metric by which you can measure your success.

Give yourself a time frame
The goal of losing ten pounds could be further improved by adding a specific deadline, such as “lose ten pounds by March 1.” Having a time frame creates urgency in your resolution. Many New Year’s resolutions fail because most people are born procrastinators; without a deadline approaching, they never take any action towards their goals. Giving yourself a time table in which you must achieve your resolution gives you a sense of urgency, and prompts you to take the necessary action.

Be realistic, but challenge yourself
If you haven’t run in ten years, it’s probably unreasonable to make a New Year’s resolution to run a half marathon in February. Such a commitment would be silly, because your likelihood of achieving it is virtually nil. On the flip side, a resolution to walk one mile in under 30 minutes by August would be comically easy for most people. Since achieving this goal would be so easy and the payoff for doing so would be so little, this resolution would likely be forgotten quickly.

Ask for help
Having trouble setting a realistic but challenging goal? Ask a trainer or a friend who knows a lot about health and exercise to help. Intimidated by the idea of showing up to the gym by yourself? Get a friend or family member to come with you. Reaching out to others for assistance allows you to learn from the expertise and experience of others, and also creates social support that can help you make your resolution a reality.

Just do it
Don’t worry if you can’t come up with the “perfect” New Year’s resolution -- any goal to improve your health is infinitely better than doing nothing. Don’t spend weeks obsessing over which pair of running shoes to buy before hitting the pavement -- those beat-up old tennis shoes will do just fine as you get started. The first step is always the hardest, and taking that first step will start you down the right path, building momentum towards the achievement of your health and fitness goals.

Lucas Ogden-Davis is the owner of CrossFit Manatee, a CrossFit affiliate gym at 5757 Manatee Ave W in Bradenton. He is a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, a USAW Level 1 Sport Performance Coach, a CrossFit Movement and Mobility Trainer, and has over 7 years of experience working with people of all ages, abilities and levels of fitness. To contact him, email lucas@crossfitmanatee.com.


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