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January 2006 Newsletter

Making Your Resolution Stick

Dear Fellow Business Traveler,

The parties are over; the decorations are back in the attic. That must mean it's time for New Year's resolutions! 80% of us will make health and fitness resolutions. Unfortunately, many of us will have faltered by mid-month. Our newsletter this month outlines strategies for making your resolution stick. If you've faltered, it's never too late to try again.

To Your Health,
Customer Service, Healthy Travel Network and Chief Fitness Officer

squareStrategies for a Successful Health and Fitness Resolution

If you've made a health or fitness resolution, take a moment to give yourself credit for focusing on your most valuable possession--your health. Even small changes in your diet, lifestyle, and activity level can have significant and lasting positive effects on your overall health and longevity.

By now, you've probably made your resolution. Take a moment to evaluate how SMART your goal is. Is it:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
If your goal doesn't meet these criteria, consider revising it so that it does.

For example, if your goal is to "get in better shape," consider picking a more specific goal such as "be able to walk four miles in an hour." If your goal is to improve your health, consider a more measurable goal that's appropriate to your needs, such as lowering your cholesterol by 10 points.
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Be honest with yourself about your health and fitness level. A key reason that resolutions slip is that folks are unrealistic about what they can accomplish. If you're sedentary now, rather than setting a big goal like running a 10k race, set a smaller, more achievable goal such as walking a 5k race.

Be realistic about the constraints of your daily life. If your schedule doesn't permit going to the gym everyday, scale your goal back to two or three times a week. And remember, you can get just as much exercise at home as you can at the gym.

Set multiple short term goals, than one big goal. Instead of trying to lose twenty pounds during the year, aim for losing one to two pounds per week. In addition to giving you lots of mini-successes, you can more easily monitor your progress. Remember, healthy weight loss is one or two pounds per week. If you aim higher than that, you are both setting yourself up for failure, as well as creating an unhealthy lifestyle.

Keys to Commitment
Let's face it--making significant changes in your life is difficult. It takes time and great commitment. Once you've set your goal, you need success strategies to help you reach it:

Budget: Exercise doesn't have to be expensive. If you don't have the budget to join a gym, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to get exercise, such as walking, running, biking, tennis, exercise videos, and so on. If paying for an expensive gym membership will help motivate you to exercise, go for it. If not, don't let money be the reason that you fail to meet your goal.

  • Support: Telling a trusted friend or family member may help you stay accountable. Be sure to pick someone who will be supportive of your goals, and not judgmental. Find strategies for dealing with people who are barriers to your success. Consider keeping a journal to capture your goal, your progress, and how you feel about your successes or misses. If you fail to meet one of your goals, think of it as a short-term miss and challenge to be overcome, not as a failure.

    Schedule: Most health and fitness goals take time. If you've set a nutrition-oriented goal, you'll likely be spending extra time at the grocery and cooking. If you've set a fitness goal, you'll of course be spending time exercising. Make appointments with yourself on your calendar, and treat them with the same respect that you would an appointment with a friend, family member or customer.

    Perspective: Above all, keep your goal in perspective. Self-deprivation doesn't work. In fact, with respect to diet and nutrition, it doesn't even work and will quickly back-fire on you. Similarly, spending 15 hours at the gym every week will likely drive both you and your family nuts. You're more likely to be successful if you maintain balance and perspective.

    Variety: Variety is the spice of life, and the same is true with health and fitness. You may have found the perfect meal to eat to stay within your calendar limit, but eating it day in and day out will have you soon heading for the pizza joint. Similarly, exercise becomes dull unless you vary your routine. In addition, your body rapidly adjusts to a particular exercise, so lack of variety will cause you to plateau and slow down your progress.

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