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January 31, 2013
If you’re like many people, some 30 days ago on the cusp of the New Near, you made a pledge to better yourself. Jan. 1 often signals a clean break from one-too-many eggnogs and gingerbread cookies and ushers in a gym membership and a goal toward getting in better physical shape. But as we sit on the last day of January, I must ask: How’s that resolution holding up?

It’s not uncommon to fall off the resolution path. Fact is, the American Council on Exercise estimates that fewer than half of the U.S. population makes a New Year’s resolution; of that, just a third will adhere to these new habits by month’s end. That’s for all resolutions made, not just those made about exercise. If you made a non-exercise resolution, roughly half will stick with that exercise regimen six months in.

So if your resolution was to exercise consistently, odds are not in your favor to succeed. But do not let these figures deter you! If you’ve made it thus far, allow me to nudge you to make it the full year…and beyond.

My theory is that most resolution contracts are made while under the influence of residual holiday intoxication. (Not necessarily alcohol, but the crush of excess the holidays can bring.) While a resolution to improve your health is commendable, if a resolution is made under these circumstances, it is often short lived.

Following the holiday season (which, let’s face it, is nearly six weeks long when you take into account Thanksgiving), we are bombarded with many emotions.

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Often we feel lethargic, guilty, and even remorseful, of our indulgences. With that comes an urge to purge and thus a resolution made in a reactionary state-of-mind rather than proactively.

I’ve found that goals made to work off the past will only provide you enough fuel, enough fire to be content with doing that and only that. Once you’ve “done enough work” to bury those feelings of remorse and cancel out damage done, is precisely when a resolution loses its luster.

Please don’t misread this.

This is not to say you can’t improve the status quo like shedding the weight you may have put on over the past few months, or even years. I’m saying: do not be content with doing only that. Go beyond–search for a bigger carrot to pursue.

Some of the feistiest exercisers are brides-to-be. They’ve a clear-cut goal to look stunning in their wedding dress. Strong, attainable goals such as these with a deadline create a sense of urgency; once that goal is reached, you must search for a new dangling carrot. Whether it’s to sport a hard beach body on spring break or finish a half-marathon in the fall, the idea is to plant a goal that will keep you wanting to work instead of hanging it up once you’ve met them.

Let’s face it, for many people, exercise is not a priority. It’s a nuisance to find time for it, and not enjoyable once they do. The key is to attach a need for exercise with something you want and only then will you stick with it.

And believe me, as you plot new hurdles and tasks along the way, you will begin to enjoy it; you’ll crave the next challenge and the work that comes with it.

Instead of asking how your New Year’s resolution is holding up, let me ask this: How’s that Memorial Day resolution coming along? Live well.

Mike Hackett holds a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise science and is an American Council on Exercise’s certified personal trainer. He is also the proprietor of Mike Hackett and Syphus Training LLC in St. Clair Shores. He can be reached at (313) 407-6656 or e-mail at Hack1913@hotmail.com. E-mail Hackett with healthy questions or topics.

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