Resolve to keep New Year's resolutions
by Matt Shinall
Jan 02, 2012 | 1754 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Personal trainer Patrick Nelson works with client Sophia Evans at the Bodyplex in Cartersville.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Personal trainer Patrick Nelson works with client Sophia Evans at the Bodyplex in Cartersville. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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With the new year comes New Year's resolutions, personal commitments to a better life -- out with the old and in with the new -- but most resolutions never last past Valentine's Day.

The perennial favorites are stop smoking, quit drinking, get out of debt and get a new job, but several of the top New Year's resolutions relate to a single topic -- fitness. Three of the 13 most popular resolutions listed at www.usa.gov revolve around physical fitness, including eat healthier, get fit and lose weight.

Gyms have undoubtedly already seen a swell of new visitors and members but historically speaking, the influx will not last for long. Personal trainer and owner of Georgia Fitness Academy Patrick Nelson shares advice on how to stick with fitness resolutions past Groundhog Day.

"I think having a New Year's resolution is a great thing. Whatever you're doing I think it's great to have challenging but achievable goals that you can strive for and your health should be no different," Nelson said. "I want to see people set goals that include doing that for the rest of their lives rather than a short-term goal to lose 20 pounds and go back to their old lifestyles."

The first step to obtaining those goals, said Nelson, is by focusing on a healthier diet. Many people eat as a comfort aid when they are either stressed or bored. Breaking those habits will allow for other actions to work quicker and more efficiently.

The next step outlined by Nelson is finding what works for you personally.

"The key, I think, is finding something that not only fits in your lifestyle but something you enjoy doing. If you don't enjoy coming to the gym, then typically you're not going to stick with it. But taking better care of yourself doesn't necessarily mean joining a gym. It could be playing tennis, playing any kind of sport, it could be running, it could be simply eating better," Nelson said.

For those dieting or beginning a workout regimen, accountability is one way to keep New Year's resolutions. Personal trainers, family members, friends and workout partners are options to keep you accountable.

"If you've got two spouses, one's wanting to do it and one's not -- typically the one that doesn't want to do it or doesn't want to eat right is going to win out eventually because the other person is going to get tired of doing it on their own," Nelson said. "And if there's kids involved, it's a trickle down effect. Bring it down to the kids. Get their eating and exercise habits formed at a young age and they're far more likely to do it the rest of their lives."

Another way to increase health and wellness while pursuing fitness goals in the new year is to reduce stress levels.

"Stress reduction is a huge thing for all of us that we need to focus on and all of those things play into your fitness and overall health. Take time to calm down and do some breathing exercises to lower your stress level, that can go a long way to improving your health," Nelson said.

Lastly, for those with hectic lifestyles and demanding obligations Nelson gave advice on quick ways to improve one's health.

"For the busy professionals that say, 'I don't have time for this or that:' Like I said, changing your diet is always something you can work on, making better choices, watching portion control and find ways to fit some type of fitness into your lifestyle," Nelson said. "There are a lot of things you can do throughout the day even if you don't have a specific time set aside but find things that work for you. Get out and walk the dog when you get home in the evenings, whatever works for you -- we can all find a few minutes here or there to focus on our health."