New Year’s Resolutions: Think Beyond Joining A Gym

Area resident Russell Goldstein bikes at the Brainerd Family YMCA. Submitted photo

There is no doubt that anyone who is reading this has seen the many ads on television promoting the new guaranteed-to-work state-of-the-art machine, fitness program, fad diet, or wonder supplement which will help you lose weight and be happy.

Is that really what your ideal goal should be, though, and if not, what other options do you have?

You might consider an approach which has been gaining momentum and providing sustainable results: health coaching. This is an emerging area in health and wellness which focuses on goal setting, motivation, programming, support and appropriate progressions to achieve specific and personal goals. This approach is not ‘therapy’ and is not intended for work with people suffering from clinical dysfunctionality. It is for people who have areas in their lives which are going well,

and who would like to grow in other dimensions, particularly wellness.

But, where would you start, and how can you create a New Year’s Resolution that sets you up for success? This time of year, there is a consistent pressure to “join the gym.” There are high end boutique options, discount gyms, and others that provide a broad variety of programs and offerings.


What is going to make a difference for you? Is the gym membership going to make you healthy? The answer is not simple. Only YOU can make YOU healthy. A gym might be the right space, but if you are struggling to make healthier choices, there is much more to consider.

Here are some tips:

  1. Partner with a certified health coach. This has become a common term, but be sure to check the training and credentials of your coach. If they use this title, they should have a certification from a nationally recognized program such as the American Council on Exercise.

  2. Set SMART goals. They should be thoughtful and help get you closer to your vision of good health. These are Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic, and in a Timely manner.

  3. Pace yourself! Small steps add up. If you try to do too much too soon, it will likely not be sustainable.

  4. Be ready to overcome barriers. Not if, but when. Develop your plan ahead of time and be prepared.

  5. Don’t give up when you have a lapse or setback, and don’t expect perfection. We all stumble from time to time and this is a natural part of lifestyle change. A good health coach can help you adopt a growth mindset and learn from each failure. Focus should on your positive progress and your learning from each experience.

So now what? Always remember your purpose and your “why.” You have the power within you to make this new year different. You are the one in control and have the answers within you. Be confident and take that first step to a healthier you.

Strategies to stay active

Here are some creative ways to stay active while all of the holiday leftovers are around:

  1. Get up and do something during the commercials.

  2. Take an indoor walk at the mile-long loop at Central Lakes College or in the mall.

  3. Make one healthy change to your meal or snack and rethink your drink! Often people don’t realize how many calories they consume through beverages.

  4. Partner up and find a buddy to provide support and be active with you. Group fitness classes can develop lifelong friendships and help make you accountable to others.

  5. Embrace winter. We have plenty of snow so get out and snowshoe or cross-country ski at the Northland Arboretum.

Wherever you are in your readiness, remember that lifestyle change takes time.
Allow yourself to work up through your goals gradually and safely. Remember that everything you have experienced up until now has been great learning. Use that, along with these tips, and you can get the results to be the real you.

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