Jennifer DiFrancescoIt’s the New Year and a time of new beginnings. The number one priority for the population is health and wellness. This usually consists of joining a gym and starting the New Year focused on fitness goals. Unfortunately, this focus often falters. Statistics show that 50% of all new health club members quit within the first 6 months. How can this be avoided and the New Year become a time for lifestyle modifications that “stick” as new healthy habits?

Think S.M.A.R.T: Specific and Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Results Oriented, and Time Bound.   Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the goal strategic and specific?
  2. Can success in meeting the goal be measured?
  3. Is it realistic for the goal to be attained in a certain timeframe?
  4. Have you set a target deadline to accomplish the goal?  (Taking the entire year is too long of a time frame!)

In addition to employing the SMART approach, keep in mind that fitness is all about creating a sense of community for yourself.  When each of us is tied into an activity that creates a sense of community, we feel tied into a larger purpose and cause.

Fitness communities take different shapes. There are cyclists who meet in the morning to ride as a group across our desert landscape. And hard-core attendees of the cross-fit culture who wake up to challenge themselves in unexpected ways with a trainer.  There are people who join a yoga studio and become woven into the fabric of yoga practice.  Go to the park and see a group that has joined to play their weekly ritual game of soccer or basketball.  These are all examples of people coming together in healthy ways.

Studies show that people who go to gyms where they have relationships and connections keep going back.  Ask yourself if you have connected with an inspiring form of movement beyond the physicality of where and why you exercise.  This type of commitment will lead to a healthy habit that may last a lifetime.

Your body craves varying forms of movement so make sure there is variety in your fitness program.  The monotony of doing the same movement day every on a machine in a fitness center is boring.  From flexion to extension, to cardio and strength, your body needs engagement in all of these areas to feel alive.  Find a few activities that are different in their effect and weave the community of “being there” into the joy of your fitness program. This will create a deeper, lasting meaning to your New Year’s resolution.

Jennifer is a Desert native with 20 years of experience in the spa industry. She is the Director at the Hyatt’s Agua Serena Spa in Indian Wells and has a Tuesday morning wellness segment as ZenJen on 100.5 fm radio.

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