Ask Stephie: New Year’s resolution: Fitness and you in 2007

The New Year is here again. Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Well, if you’re like most Americans, you’ve made at least one. And, if you are like a majority of these “promise-makers,” your resolution is most likely related to health and fitness.

While resolutions are well intended, unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. Usually, all the excitement and enthusiasm gets people off to a good start, but then most quickly lose their momentum and start slipping back to their old ways.

The problem is, the enthusiasm to make changes, especially with exercise and diet, tends to fade once we realize we can’t change everything overnight. So, what’s the secret to successful resolutions? Since you can’t just wave a magic wand and make your resolution come true, here are some easy steps you can take that will make it easier to fulfill the new promise to yourself:

Choose an obtainable goal. This is critical and necessary to maintaining enthusiasm. Deciding that you want to look like a super model is probably not realistic for most of us, but promising to include some sort of daily physical activity in our lives is very attainable and encouraging as you see progress being made.

Avoid choosing a resolution that you have been unsuccessful at achieving in the past. This will probably set you up for disappointment, frustration, and failure. If you are still tempted to make a promise you have made before, try altering it a bit. For example, if last year your resolution was to lose 30 pounds, then maybe this year it could be to increase your weekly exercise and eat a healthy breakfast each day.

Create a plan and write it down. People who write their goals down are much more likely to reach them than those who don’t. All successful businesses start with a business plan describing their mission and how they plan to achieve it. Take the time to write down your own personal goals and a plan to go with those goals. This will greatly increase your chances of success.

Break your goals down. Rather than creating one big goal, try splitting it up into smaller ones. This may help things seem less intimidating and actually more enjoyable. Having multiple goals to reach means having more successes throughout the year.

Build a circle of support. Tell your friends and family all about your resolutions so you will have someone to be accountable to. Be sure and set some boundaries so their help doesn’t turn into a nagging irritation.

Reward yourself with each success. It is important to treat yourself in order to remain motivated. Choose your rewards wisely so as to not sabotage yourself in the long run. For example, if you lose 5 pounds, a therapeutic massage would be a better reward than a cheeseburger, fries, and a milkshake.

Don’t do it alone. When a friend just isn’t enough, get professional assistance. When it comes to fitness, research studies show assistance from a qualified fitness professional greatly improves a person’s success rate.

Limit your number of promises. To avoid spreading yourself too thin, be realistic in how many changes you set out to make.

On average, only about 20 percent of us keep our New Year’s resolutions with some of the biggest failures each year being fitness related. Don’t let that statistic get you down. By following the tips above you’ll be much better equipped to fall into that successful 20 percent category.

Happy New Year!

Stephie Steele is owner of Symmetry Fitness, LLC. She has been featured in IDEA Health & Fitness Source magazine and specializes in weight loss, sports performance, total body fitness, posture alignment therapy, strength training, core conditioning, cardiovascular and flexibility training. Readers can send their questions to Stephie via e-mail to

From the Jan. 31-Feb. 6, 2007, issue

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