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Shape-Up Rhodes: Realistic Wellness Resolutions for 2013

Let’s be real here.  If you hardly work out now, a resolution of hitting the gym six times a week will fall apart by mid January.  If you have a major sweet tooth, cutting out all sweets from your diet is going to result in a candy binge from deprivation. 

This holiday season, try setting a more realistic resolution for yourself.  Even if the resolution seems like it’s not a big enough step in the right direction, taking a more realistic approach using smaller steps should lead to greater success.  You can always alter your resolution in the future. Start with one goal, one thing that you will work on for the first month of the New Year, master it, and then advance it.  

For example, if your resolution is to workout 3x/week, start with this goal, master it, and if you’ve done a good job and feel that it is manageable and you’d like to bump up the intensity, change it to 5x/week.  Do NOT start right off the bat with a goal of 5x or 6x a week if you know you’re not going to be able to keep up with it. 

Below are ideas of realistic New Years resolutions that focus on improving your physical and mental health.  Use these guidelines in 2013 to stick to your resolution.

Stressed? Try writing down one positive aspect, one negative aspect, and one future goal for yourself at the end of each day.  Keeping your mental health in check is important when it comes to maintaining healthy relationships with others and with yourself. 


            Positive: I spent quality time with my family today.

            Negative: I ate too many desserts after dinner… Can you say food coma?

            Goal: Go to bed early tomorrow and catch up on sleep before the weekend!

Trying to slim down?  Leave some room for cheat meals in your diet and quit cutting out entire food groups.  If you’re a chocoholic (like myself) and you find it difficult to control your daily chocolate intake, look for substitutions.  Allow yourself a chocolate splurge 2x/week instead of 4x/week, and replace that chocolate with a healthier substitute or alternative (adding unsweetened cocoa powder to your morning oatmeal or drinking a glass of chocolate almond milk instead of downing a big bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream!) 

Substitutions and small changes are more effective than elimination goals.  Be realistic if you want results.

Lazy?  If you’re looking to add in more exercise or variety in exercise to your daily life, set a realistic exercise goal for yourself.  Let’s say you go to the gym 4x/week but are stuck in a rut.  You only hop on the elliptical and put it on the same settings for 30 minutes.  Instead of increasing the amount of times/week you go to the gym, change up the intensity and the format of your workouts. 

Try out new fitness classes, add in strength training to your routine, and do not be afraid to ask for help!! The trainers at your home gym and the group fitness instructors at your school are certified professionals and they are there to help you achieve your goals.

Schedule fitness just as you schedule your morning routine.  Fitness should be a priority just as sleeping and brushing your teeth are incorporated into your schedule.  Making time to workout is just as important.  3x/week for 30 minutes is better than 0 times/week and a list full of excuses. 

Tip:  Write down a date/time for your workout in your planner or send yourself a reminder on your phone. A one-hour workout is 4% of your day.  Sometimes I’ll work out for 30-45 minutes if I’m short on time and will amp up the intensity/shorten the rest periods between circuits. 

Messy/Unorganized?  Work on your organizational skills this 2013.  Plan ahead

If you struggle to make it to class on time with everything you need for the rest of the day and your homework completed, set a resolution of laying out all that you need for class the next day, and going to bed 30 minutes earlier so that you’re ready to roll when the morning comes around. 

Schedule an hour every Saturday to clean your dorm room or apartment to prevent the mess from building up.  Make to-do lists.  Go to a yoga class once a week to get your life in check.  Set a daily cleaning task for yourself.  Study for your exams in advance instead of cramming the night before.  These suggestions may seem like easy tasks but when you try implementing them, they can become difficult. 

Altering your habits can be extremely difficult, so remember to take this one step at a time instead of going full force right off the bat.  If you’re an extreme procrastinator, setting a resolution of studying for an exam two weeks in advance will probably not be a successful resolution.  Instead try starting your studying a few days in advance and create a checklist for the material you plan to tackle each day.  You’ll be much more likely to stick to your goals if you start off small.


Happy Holidays Collegiates and look forward to a wonderful New Year, a new semester, and a whole new series of Shape-Up Rhodes articles.  Remember to stay true to yourself and everything will fall into place!




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