To Make Resolutions or Not to Make Resolutions,
That Is The Question...

Almost every year I swear that I am not going to make a resolution and then I end up doing it anyway. Why is that? Well, I think it’s because as the old year closes and a new one begins, it’s just the perfect time to examine our past and plan for better days ahead.

I don’t know about you, but for me the mere sound of "Auld Lang Syne" sends my nostalgic side into overdrive and makes me pine for the good old days and yearn to make my present and future as good as I possibly can. Nothing like another year zipping by to make you realize just how quickly life really does pass you by. It totally reiterates the fact that you need to make the most of every single second, doesn’t it?

I believe that making resolutions is a way for us to commit to improving our lives in hopes of attracting more happiness and prosperity into our daily lives. Why is it, though, that most of us seem to make the same old resolutions year after year after year? In truth the majority of the most well-intentioned resolutions usually go south within a month or two of being made. Why is that? Experts say there are five main reasons why they fail.

Reason #1: Not setting smart goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Reason #2: Doing what you think you should do instead of what you will enjoy. What works for one person may not work for you. Find an activity that you enjoy and go with that and you’ll be much more likely to adhere to it.

Reason #3: Taking on too much, too fast. Ambition and motivation are wonderful but it is easy to go overboard and burn yourself out very quickly by biting off more than you can realistically chew. Develop the exercise habit first by starting out with 2-3 strength training sessions a week and 3-5 cardio sessions a week. After the first few weeks you can gradually increase the frequency, duration, and intensity safely.

Reason #4: Having an all or nothing approach versus a day by day approach. Of course, we all want to lose weight and be fit by tomorrow, but it took time to get out of shape and it will take time to get into shape as well. Fitness is a continuum, a lifestyle, not a plan you can implement and then quit one day and expect to remain fit. You might as well relax and take it one day at a time and understand that you are in this for the long haul.

While it’s good to create a workout schedule, don’t despair if life gets in the way and causes you to miss a scheduled exercise session. And remember, a little exercise is better than none at all, so try to do something everyday towards your goal even if you don’t have time for a full-blown workout. For instance three, 10-minute bouts of walking are nearly as beneficial as a 30-minute session. The cumulative effects of exercise are much better than no exercise at all.

Reason #5: A negative attitude. I can’t stress this enough: you get out of life what you put into it, and if you go into a fitness plan with a negative attitude you are doomed to fail from the start. You must think positive and get your head in the game from the getgo!

Now, go on and make that New Year’s resolution; however, this year why not invest in your long and healthy future by keeping them? Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

1) Be realistic. Make your goal attainable. For example, losing 50 pounds in a month is unrealistic. On the other hand, “I’d like to lose some weight,” isn’t quite specific enough. Perhaps, “I’d like to lose 15 pounds in 2 months,” is a SMART resolution.

2) Make a plan. Don’t just say you are going to be healthier; outline a plan for implementing your new fitness lifestyle.

3) Talk about it and be positive. Surround yourself with positive people. Get a workout partner if it helps.

4) Reward yourself. You might try celebrating your success by treating yourself to something that you enjoy that does not contradict your resolution.

5) Track your progress. Keep track of small successes along the way to your bigger goals.

6) Keep a food diary. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until you try this you just can’t believe how helpful it is with your weight loss efforts. It’s worth the trouble if it lends to your success, right? So just do it!

7) Be kind and patient with yourself. If you fall off the wagon—and you will from time to time—just pick yourself back up and get back on.

8) Stick to it one day at a time until it becomes a habit. Experts say this takes about 21 days and it takes about 6 months for it to become part of your personality. Whatever you do, don’t quit!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Don't forget to check out my weekly Fitness Column in the SunConnect that comes out every Wednesday. It's called "The Trainer's Edge" and aside from the crappy, oversized picture, which I have no control over, I am quite pleased and proud to have this opportunity to write and be heard. Please be sure and check it out and tell all your friends about it! Thanks so much!!

This is the part of the newsletter where I picture an exercise and give explicit instructions on its proper execution.

Nice traps round out a beautiful physique. Trust me on this, you want nice traps, be you male or female. :)

Smith Upright Row
Primary Muscle Group Worked:
Secondary Muscle Group Worked: Biceps, Middle back, Shoulders.

Preparation: Set the bar on the smith machine to a height that is around the middle of your thighs. Once the correct height is chosen and the bar is loaded, grasp the bar using a palms facing behind you grip with your thumbs about 1-2 inches apart. Fully extend your arms with your back straight. There should be a slight bend at the elbows. This is the starting position.

Execution: 1) Use your side shoulders to lift the bar as you exhale. The bar should be close to the body as you move it up. Continue to lift it until it is between chest and chin height.
2) Your elbows should drive the motion. As you lift the bar, your elbows should always be higher than your forearms. Also, keep your torso stationary and pause for a second at the top of the movement.
3) Lower the bar back down slowly to the starting position. Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement.
4) Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

Always, always, always go slow and controlled! Remember form and technique trump heavy weights any day of the week, so keep this exercise light enough that you can execute perfect form. Choose a weight that makes the last two of 8-12 reps very challenging yet still doable in good form.

Okay, peeps! This is the inspirational part of the newsletter known as the "Ponder Pond" where you're welcome to take a swim in the sweet waters of inspiration.

This video is a switch from my normal warm and fuzzy vids. I figured maybe it's time for a laugh...whadayathink? Enjoy!

Well, that's about it for this time! I hope you enjoyed this month's newsletter and until the next issue, may the wind be at your back and improved health and vitality your new reality!

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please feel free to pay it forward to anyone you think would like it too. That is the best compliment you could ever pay me, and I appreciate it very, very much.

And don't forget to tell everybody about where they can get all the free fitness info their heart desires and sign up for this newsletter while they are there.

From my heart to your health,

Linda Burke, CPT

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