Friday, November 30, 2012

'Tis the Season! (To Get Started Early)

‘Tis The Season!  (To Prioritize Exercise)

Quick, what was/were your fitness-related resolution(s) for 2012?  Lose 15 pounds?  Run a 5K race; Run a 5K race faster?  Go to the gym 3 days per week, walk 5? You have just over 30 days remaining in 2012, did you achieve your fitness goals that you set for yourself in January?  Are you close?

Do you even remember what your 2012 fitness goals were or did you stop working on them around February?

One of the reasons I think it’s important to stick with exercise during the holidays is that by doing so, it makes January a heck of a lot more pleasant.  I don’t know about you, but when I mostly sit on my backside between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it makes getting off my backside in January particularly hard.  In my personal opinion, the reason why so many people’s New Year’s fitness/weight loss resolutions fail is because they’ve spent 4-5 weeks prior to the New Year eating to excess, sitting to excess and doing everything unhealthy to excess.  Starting the year off on the right foot is especially painful when you have to detox from all the junk food and walking up the stairs makes you winded.

This year I’m looking at the 30ish days of the holidays as my New Year Pregame.  Here’s my Play Book (Get it?! I’m making football references!):

1) Create my New Year fitness goals now.  Rather than waiting until December 31st around 11:49pm or worse, January 3rd to create my fitness goals, I’m going to create them now.  I’m going to write them down.  I am going to share them with my loved-ones.  I’m going to post them somewhere prominent so I see them often.

2) Create my Play Book.  In order to win a football game, the team can’t just step onto the field and hope for the best (okay they could, but chances are they aren’t going to win), they have to create a play book full of strategies and they have to practice those plays before the game.  For me, I’m going to create a play book of what I need to do to accomplish my goals next year.  For example, I know one of my fitness goals in 2013 will be to back squat 225 pounds.  In order to do that, I need to squat.  Every week.  Several times per week.  So I create a program that accomplishes that.

3) Start Practicing the Play Book Now.  Rather than waiting until January 1st to start tackling my Play Book, I’m going to start now.  I have 30 days between now and then and I’m going to feel a lot better in January if rather than creating a new habit, I’m just continuing the routine.

4) Create a Short Term Holiday Goal.   For me personally, I have 30 days left to reach my 2012 fitness goals (and they are within reach, which pleases me) so I have to continue to work hard.  But perhaps you’ve already reached your goals for the year in which case, set a mini 30 day goal to reach before December 31st.  Some ideas could be: register for at least one 5K race, take a new fitness class, hike a particular trail in your area, bike 50 miles… I find that having goals keeps me motivated and moving. 

The holidays can be an easy excuse to avoid exercise, but rather than spending this month in repose, let’s use these 30 days to transition into the New Year in a healthy, motivated manner. 

Happy holidays, y’all!


Posted by Rachel May, School of Health Sciences


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