January 10, 2011

The Resolution Solution to a Healthy 2011

Happy New Year from all of us at bene-fit! We hope that you were able to spend a joyous and relaxing holiday season with your friends and loved ones.

That said - let's also be honest. Many of us use the holidays as a time to indulge, whether reasonable (a Christmas cookie!) or excessive (a few dozen Christmas cookies!).  That leaves most of us with a little extra padding and a lot of extra guilt going into the new year.

Worry not - bene-fit is here with your "resolution solution" - that is, a bunch of great ways to get out of a fitness rut and into a healthy lifestyle without breaking the bank, living on lettuce, or losing your mind.

Lots of folks have one of two views on new year's resolutions - either they make them and enter into the new year full of overzealous commitments ("I will avoid all added sugar for 365 days!") or they shun them and start off the year with the same old habits ("Might as well polish off these holiday leftovers...").  bene-fit offers a third view - setting new year's resolutions as we encourage our clients to set health and fitness goals - in a SMART way (Simple, Measurale, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely, that is).

SMART goals mean putting down on paper the things that matter most for your next year of success, and making sure that those things aren't outside the realm of your own ability.  For example, a SMART goal might read, "I want to lose 1-2 pounds a week using regular strength and cardiovascular exercise and a calorie-aware diet."  Another SMART goal might say, "I want to make more time for my family by fitting in my 30-minute workouts before work 3 times per week."  What these "resolutions" offer is a numeric, measurable output combined with a clearly stated strategy and a firm yet positive tone.  Take an hour this week to write down at least three SMART resolutions for your new year.

So now you've got your resolutions.  What can you do from here?  A popular mantra that I absolutely love is as follows: "failing to plan is planning to fail."  Resolutions without schedules are like houses without foundations - they might look good starting out, but they'll collapse at the first sign of trouble.  For example, if your resolution is to "exercise 4 days a week," what will those workouts look like?  Will you be hitting the treadmill twice a week and lifting weights on the other days?  Will you be attending bene-fit Boot Camp once a week and signing up for Spin class more often?  Next week, take a second hour to map your resolutions into realistic, concrete achievement plans.

Finally, even the best-laid plans can go astray without proper motivation and support.  Don't knock the "corny" ways of motivating yourself until you've really tried them - for example, posting motivational quotes on your refrigerator or cubicle, asking a friend or partner to email you every few days as a friendly check-in on your goals, or even hiring a bene-fit personal or virtual trainer to customize your workouts and monitor your progress with you.  There are so many people out there willing to help you on your health and fitness journey that all you have to do is ASK!

Welcome back to bene-fit and thank you for letting us be a part of your healthy, happy 2011.

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