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New Year’s Fitness Resolutions: Realistic Goals Can Equal Real Results

It’s no secret that gyms and health clubs can be pretty busy places in January. Resolving to get in shape or lose weight is a common way for Americans to start the New Year. Nebraska Medical Center exercise physiologist Kris Volkmer says resolutions do work – if they’re done right.

“You have to go into it with a plan,” Volkmer says.  “A lot of times, resolutions fail because we set goals that are too lofty.”

Volkmer says it’s important to be realistic about what you can and will do. Setting unrealistic goals is a recipe for getting off track.

“If you resolve to never eat sweets or to run every day of the year, that’s very unrealistic,” she said.  “Getting off track is part of the process. If it happens, wake up the next morning and reinforce your goal.”

Volkmer has a few other tips to make a successful run at a healthier 2012.

  • Write down your resolution or share it with a friend.  “Studies show if you have a support system or share your goal with someone, you’re more apt to stick with your plan and be motivated”
  • Reward yourself. “As you reach small milestones along the way, give yourself a fitness-related reward. For example if your goal is to lose 75 pounds, celebrate that first five or ten pounds you lose with a new pair of workout shoes, a fitness DVD or maybe a manicure.
  • Start small.  “It can be as little as a 15 minute walk every day to begin. The most important thing is just to get started.” 
People who have never exercised regularly before or who have certain health conditions may need to consult a physician before beginning. Volkmer works with patients at The Nebraska Medical Center Diabetes Center and can be reached at 1-800-922-0000.