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2010 Physical Activity Symposium Logo
Click Here For Printable Version New Year's List

Is your list complete? No, not your Christmas list—your resolution list. You know, the one you start penciling in your mind in December that promises to eliminate every bad habit engrained in your life? Well, I suppose the timing is right. It’s likely your plans are solidified for the end of this year which leads you to commit and look positively toward the new year. Resolution is defined as- a statement of intent a vow.

Isn’t it amazing how many bad habits a person can accumulate over the course of a life? Obvious ones like eating too many fast foods, never sticking with an exercise plan, smoking, drinking, gossiping, forgetting to schedule regular doctor’s visits and on and on. You may identify with some of the detrimental behaviors just mentioned, or you have acquired ones that are less obvious and specific only to you.

Regardless of what life changes you desire, your resolutions may have a longer shelf life if you equip your plan with reasonable goals. A list full of too many changes will most likely hit you harder than your January credit card bill and will stand little chance of sticking around. After all, bad habits and behaviors didn’t happen over night so think in terms of making a few realistic changes—then maybe you’ll start accumulating good habits and behaviors.

Let these thoughts and resolution tips guide you when you make your list in indelible ink.

  • Your goal must be specific—for instance if you just say lose weight (which to the surprise of no one is the most common resolution) and don’t have an action plan behind it, it’s going to be meaningless. Don’t leave any room for interpretation in your goals.
  • Expect to take a proactive approach. That moment of heartfelt inspiration on December 31 brought on by too much too eat and drink won’t last long. Choose a couple goals that you are ready and willing to work on. Don’t expect to feel inspired every day.
  • Make small steps toward big goals. If you are a smoker and really want to quit, perhaps your initial work should center on putting you in a better frame of mind to quit. Shedding some of the stress in your life or organizing chaos around you might be a better first step.
  • Think before you move. If getting into better physical shape is a priority (and I hope it is) consider your current fitness level and choose your activity accordingly. If you haven’t been active for a while—be patient and go nice and slow. If you have stopped exercising because you are burned out with the same game, class, workout routine you’ve been doing forever, change it up and ramp it up.
  • Replace rather than reduce foods in your diet. Nobody likes deprivation for long. Instead of banning every unhealthy food you love, start swapping out one bad food a month with one healthy choice. For instance, if you’re hooked on that glazed donut on your way to work, think about replacing it with a lower calorie blueberry muffin. Keep in mind not all muffins are healthy, so check nutritional contents and choose wisely.
  • Get your drink on track. One easy replacement and one that will impact weight and health fast is to substitute water for sweet drinks—yes even diet drinks most juices!
  • Vow to eliminate trans-fats from your grocery list. This is one where the benefits far outweigh the sacrifice. The only requirement is that you pay attention to labeling at the grocery store.
  • Find time to spend time alone with yourself each day. Sounds simple enough, but 20 minutes of quality quiet time whether you are walking or soaking in a warm bath has incredible rejuvenating benefits.
  • Stay on the positive side of life. If you find yourself continually surrounded by negative people, make new friends. If your self talk is pessimistic, stop and shift the conversation in your head to something worthy of your time.
  • Consider yourself valuable. You are priceless you know, and you have to get on board with that concept. No resolution stands a chance if you feel you aren’t worth it. When it comes to health, you are the most important person in your life. Taking care of everyone who needs you starts by taking care of yourself first.

I wish each of you a season of blessings and a year that generously rewards your healthy endeavors.

Cindy Boggs, fitness consultant, author and Activate America director, has been an ACE-certified coordinator/instructor since 1989. Send your questions about fitness, training or health to YMCA of Kanawha Valley, 100 YMCA Drive, Charleston, WV 25311 or e-mail Look for Cindy’s fitness advice book, CindySays “You Can Find Health in Your Hectic World” on her Web site or contact the YMCA at 340-3527.

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