by Jenny Gaal, Fitness Director

Yes, it is that time of the year: the time when we all reconsider the reality of the past year and how we may not have been quite as good to ourselves as we had wished.  Many of us make resolutions for better health, fitness or losing weight.  How did you do in about that promise in 2015?

Only 46% of us maintain our resolutions past 6months.  Therefore, creating a specific strategy to get and keep us going is always a good place to start.  Before we start we should consider what has been holding us back in the past. The most common excuse tends to be lack of time. There are things you could do including getting up earlier (admittedly not for everyone) or choose to drive less and walk more. Setting an appointment with yourself can make a great difference.

Another idea is to replace a habit: for example, watch less TV or surf a little less online or do it while you’re on a treadmill. Alternately, you could use every commercial break for a few sit-ups, squats or jumping jacks.  It all adds up.  “Exercise is boring,” is another often heard complaint. Start by choosing an activity you enjoy; get some friends to join in; or explore new options like a fitness class. Other popular complaints include “I’ve always failed in the past,” and “I can’t afford gym fees.” Fun & Fitness Gymnastics has many effective and affordable fitness options.

How can you set yourself up for success? It’s not as complicated as you think. Here are some simple steps you can take, tips actually, to make a difference in your life. The first, and most important, is to commit yourself to consistency. That is, commit to sticking with your plan. If you find you are not able to meet your goals, change them to make them more possible. Don’t try for the Olympics right off the bat – take baby steps and you’re less likely to be intimidated out of your plan. Over time you will find yourself pushing a little harder and doing a little more without even noticing.

As for what your activity will be, pick something that’s fun for you. Like walking, trying a new fitness class or even shooting hoops- start with fun stuff, and then add in some friends.   Consider making it competitive including a fitness challenge with your friends.  Closed Facebook groups are a perfect way to communicate, share and inspire each other.  Joining a team is another great option. Finally, reward yourself (not with food, please). Doing something consistently is an accomplishment, even if your actual task seems small and insignificant. If you have been exercising regularly, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back.

Starting a fitness program is one of the best things you can do for your health. Physical activity can reduce your risk of chronic disease, improve your balance and coordination, and help you lose weight – even improve your sleep habits and self-esteem. Give it a try – you CAN do it.