With the New Year comes resolutions which for many people means planning to get healthier. Although experts in exercise, Ryan Johnson and Josh Vogler, of the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital Wellness Center, had recommendations that are suitable for all resolutions.
Making sure goals are realistic is key to keeping them.
“Don’t make your goals too big,” cautioned Johnson, “Try to keep your goal small so you can try to achieve it in a couple weeks. Don’t say you’re going to lose 50 pounds. Say you’re going to lose five pounds in two weeks and then when you reach it make a new goal of losing five more in the next two weeks.”
“That’s why people quit,” continued Johnson, “I don’t want to say they make unrealistic goals, but they get discouraged.” By paring down resolutions to obtainable parts, people will be more encouraged to continue because they are able to reach the smaller objectives.
“Make more short term goals than long term goals,” Vogler agreed. “People are more likely to reach short term goals.” Vogler and Johnson contribute unrealistic expectations to the reason most people stop trying to achieve their resolutions by February although Spring may give them a renewed interest.
Another recommendation is to tell friends and family about new goals.
“The more people around you who know [about your resolution] that will create a bigger support group and that will make you more accountable,” expounded Vogler, recommending starting programs with a friend or joining group classes. “If one is having a bad day and they don’t want to come [to the gym] the other one can push them and get them there.”
Accountability to others is about more than guilt. In sharing goals people also share accomplishments which encourages continuation of the changes they are trying to achieve. It also allows the opportunity to re-evaluate progress through the eyes of another person leading to more realistic expectations and probable success.
Sometimes accomplishing a goal is just about hard work.
“Look at it like a job,” advised Vogler, “You’re not always excited to go to work.” Setting aside a specific portion of the day dedicated to the goal can help form the habits that will continue when the excitement wears off.
When discouragement comes, it’s important to push forward.
“You have to remember the reason you started,” said Vogler.
“Hit the re-start button,” encouraged Johnson.“Wherever you’re at, set new goals.”
“You have to be patient to be successful. You didn’t get that way in two months, you’re not going to [achieve your goal] in two months,” urged Vogler.
“The thing about people these days is they want to feel accomplished,” hypothesized Johnson. “They’re more likely to keep it up if they feel like they have achieved something,” though not all success is obvious.
“When people get discouraged I tell them you have to realize the benefits of exercising internally. It’s not always about the pounds and inches. There’s a much bigger picture,” Johnson reminded.
“I ask, ‘How do you feel’”, said Vogler explaining that self-awareness is an important part of evaluating success as is celebrating accomplishments.
Whatever the resolution or how it is being met, it’s important to keep trying.
“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” counseled Vogler. “It’s a lifestyle change.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.