How to get past the New Year's slump
Health and wellness resolutions don’t have to fall short. The key is to set goals that are S.M.A.R.T.
Lacey Thompson Caywood
Two things pick up when the holidays end: department store sales and gym memberships.
Every year, millions of well-meaning Americans begin January with a list of health improvement goals. But 80 percent fail to accomplish their resolutions, according to U.S. News and World Report.
So what can the average person do? The key is to not expect change overnight, says Lacey Thompson Caywood, YWCA director of health and wellness. In fact, research suggests that it can take three weeks to form a habit.
“Many people end up unsuccessful because they take an all-or-nothing approach,” Thompson Caywood says. “Find something that is enjoyable to you. If you hate running on the treadmill, don’t do it. Try a different activity, such as lifting weights, Zumba or swimming.”
The next step is to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.
Define healthy for you. For example, are you looking to increase your exercise or your vegetable consumption? Plan accordingly for your diet and fitness.
Make your goals concrete. This will make your fitness goals easier for you to reach. For instance, “being in shape” is not measurable, but walking 30 minutes three times per week is.
Evaluate whether your fitness goals fit into your lifestyle. Aiming too high can be discouraging if you don’t measure up. Start small and go from there.
Be practical. If you have a sweet tooth, a “no-sugar” diet is unrealistic. Instead, make yourself a deal to eat a piece of fruit in place of a sweet at least once a day.
Give yourself a deadline. Without a sense of urgency, procrastination can take over and keep you from reaching your goals.
Lastly, seek out free or low-cost fitness programs. Explore your options. “Most fitness facilities have free or one-time guest passes to try before committing to anything long-term,” Thompson Caywood says. “Reaching fitness goals doesn’t have to cost a lot, and you don’t need tons of equipment. Showing up and putting forth the effort are the most important steps to success.”
Much like a sugar rush, it’s easy to aim high with your resolutions and crash at the first sign of trouble. However, you don’t have to succumb to the narrative. “How you handle your shortcomings will determine your success,” Thompson Caywood says.
Jan. 8-13 — YWCA Get Fit for Free Week
Try out classes and facilities for free. At 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, a Zumba party will be at the East location while Glow Yoga will take place at the Patti Johnson Wilson Center. Also, the YWCA is waiving joining fees for the month of January. Visit ywcatulsa.org or facebook.com/ywcatulsa for more information.