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4 big mistakes that ruin fitness resolutions

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New Years fireworks.  AP/Photo Pat roque

With the new year comes packed gym parking lots, sold out fitness equipment, and millions of resolutions to get in shape.  Unfortunately, the parking lots are back to normal in about a month, the new equipment is packed away in a few weeks, and the resolutions are sometimes forgotten within a week of their creation.  Poor goal setting sets people up for failure before they truly start any routine.

Here are 4 mistakes to avoid when making your fitness resolution:

  1. Not keeping a record of the goal's progress.  If your goal was to eat better foods, then you should keep a food log that will hold you accountable.  A food log will also help you make sure you are actually eating better since you might "forget" about those Oreos after dinner 3 nights ago.  If your goal is not something you can keep a record of, then that is your first problem.  All fitness goals should be measurable.  If your goal is fit into you size 6 jeans, then take all your measurements with a measuring tape every 4 weeks and see the inches come off because those inches going away will put you in the jeans.
  2. Not being specific about goals.  A lot of people want to lose weight, but simply stating that you want to lose weight will almost certainly lead to failure.  Be specific about how much weight you want to lose.  Be specific about how many days you want to exercise a week, how often you will play tennis with friends, what body composition you want, or how far you want to stretch.
  3. Not setting a deadline to reach goals.  Most people assume that a New Year's resolution has a one year deadline, but this isn't and shouldn't always be the case.  If you want to lose 10 pounds, and you haven't set a realistic deadline, then you might be apt to continuously put it off until you realize it is January of 2011 and you're setting the same resolution all over again.  Setting a deadline gives a sense of purpose and urgency to get your resolution completed.
  4. Being unrealistic about fitness and weight loss resolutions.  It is healthy to lose up to 2 pounds a week, but most people realistically lose about half a pound a week when on a weight loss routine.  This is still weight loss, and it adds up over time.  Many people get discouraged because they set a goal to lose an unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time, and then give up when they don't see results within the first week.   It takes 4-6 weeks to start seeing results for new routines. 

Setting New Year's fitness resolutions can be fun and exciting because you can recreate yourself, but don't underestimate the importance of the goal details.  The resolution is your mission statement for the year so take the time to make it good.

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