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2024 Jan

Succeed with Fitness Goals

Start by making a S.M.A.R.T. Goal

The new year is officially here. Someone is sure to ask you, “What’s your resolution this year?” Like last year you’ll respond, “To be healthier and lose ten pounds.” Easy to say, perhaps, but not so east to accomplish.

The pressure is on. You join a gym, read all your fitness magazines, stock your fridge with healthy food, and say no to carbohydrates for four weeks. Then two weeks later you’ve forgotten your gym bag running out the door. You didn’t have time for breakfast so you stopped for a bagel at Wawa. Your kids need to go shopping for winter coats, you have a big project due, and now you’re back to square one. What happened to your noble goal? You didn’t plan, you didn’t prepare, and you didn’t have the momentum to succeed.

January will not magically bring more time, less responsibility at home and work, and more motivation. Plus it’s the coldest month of the year. That said, it’s the perfect time to commit to your fitness goals. You need to evaluate your main motivation, seek strategies for making time for your work outs, and build momentum to roll into the new year with an “I will” attitude.

First, create a goal that is S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based. I want to lose 10 pounds and three percent of my body fat within the next 4-5 weeks by working out 3-4 times a week, eating breakfast every day, and eliminating refined carbs at dinner. Already you are setting yourself up for success by being specific. If you need to lose 50 pounds, set increments of time to lose weight, such as 10 pounds every 4-5 weeks.

At the heart of goal setting is motivation. Ask yourself why do you think you need to reach these goals. Are the people around you cheering you on? Is your spouse or partner aware of your goals and is he or she supportive? Enlist everyone’s help and support. Then you can focus on the time you have to get active.

Experiment with different work-out times to see what works best. If you prefer working out in the morning, will your husband help with getting the kids ready while you go for a brisk walk or 30-minute routine? If you have a lunch break at work, can you swing a 15-minute lunch and 30-minute walk around the building? Do you have 15 minutes before your shower to do some exercises? Even a short burst of time allows for four exercises. Determining the best time to work out is central to your success. Once you’ve decided when that is, try the following for motivation:

  • Sign up and start training for a 5K or 10K. Visit for a list of local races.
  • Involve your family by making play time a workout time. Use each room of the house for a different exercise with your kids: lunges in the living room, push-ups in the hall, and squats in the bathroom.
  • Find a workout partner, someone who has good workout habits.
  • Use commercial breaks during your favorite shows to stretch or do jumping jacks.
  • Schedule a work out in your planner as if it’s a meeting.
  • Keep a workout bag in your car including resistance bands, jump rope, and a five-pound weight.
  • Purchase a Fitbit or a pedometer – every step counts!
  • Get a trainer. Regular sessions with a trainer keep you accountable and provides motivation and continued momentum.

Plan for success this year. Create your strategies, and get everyone around you on board. Find the motivation. Even a silly reason is reason enough. Treat will power like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Live well.

Reprinted from Tidewater Women magazine.

Give Your Child a Healthy Start to the School Year

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Help ensure your child enters the new school year healthy and without delay with these tips from the Virginia Department of Health.