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Solutions to make resolutions last

Easy strategies to help you keep your vows in 2014 and the years to come.

By Joan Teotico


You’ve already paid for a one-year gym membership in advance to lose the holiday weight you’ve gained. No more fast-food meals: Your fridge is filled with fresh produce, and your cupboard’s stocked with nutritious essentials. Your New Year’s resolutions are tacked on your bedroom wall and even posted on your Facebook wall. After being all gung ho on New Year’s Day, however, you slowly slip back into your old habits and suffer a series of setbacks—work gets in the way of working out six times a week, and you wonder what’s in that decadent dark chocolate cake that wipes out your willpower.

Are there goals for 2014 that are impossible and beyond your physical and emotional capacities? Charmie Tomaneng, senior coach of 360° Fitness Club in Quezon City, says unrealistic goals can jeopardize the process. “[S]etting and achieving their goals is not just [a] one-month preparation, but it would take several months, or years, to achieve,” she stresses.

Roxanne Franco, N.A.S.M.-C.P.T., A.C.S.M.-H.F.S., exercise physiologist in Frazier Rehabilitation Institute at Louisville, Kentucky, U.S. advises, “[E]stablish a higher long-term goal that incorporates smaller, more metric objectives. … [I]f your objective is to lose 15 pounds, you may establish your long-term goal as fitting into your high school jeans or taking up a new sport. In contrast, if you establish your overall goal as running a marathon, you can start by enrolling in a smaller race such as a 5K for fun or cross-training on hills and terrain. Setting your goals and objectives properly is one of the first factors in your journey to success.”

Make clear goals and set a deadline. Mennen Aracid, managing consultant for sales of FranklinCovey Philippines, explains: “First: The goals are clear. They want to lose weight … or they want to be healthy—in measurements, in endurance, or in stamina. Then they also have a deadline.” Raul Penaranda Jr., 36, a management consultant, has been doing CrossFit since March 2012. His 2013 resolutions were to lower his body fat to 12 percent, work out at least three times a week and eat clean for six days a week. To date, he has lost approximately 30 pounds. His 2014 resolution is to “still continue to work on reaching the 12 percent body fat goal.”

Get fit for a reason. Charm Cabredo's 2013 goal was to run her first 21K. In the middle of the year, the architect found out about a 90-day fitness challenge, which involved exercising and eating right. "I joined the program having no idea what to expect; but, with an open mind, [I] just trusted the process.” But working out—strength training and running on alternate days—six days a week for three months occupied much of her time. Still, Cabredo carves out quality time with her daughter every morning and on weekends. “I remind myself that I also wanted to be a fit mom for her,” she says. Having concrete reasons for being in shape amplifies one’s quest to be fit and healthy. According to Aracid, success is likely if “there is a long-term reason for staying healthy and not have the doctor require you to exercise. For example, staying fit so you can be there for your child’s college graduation will probably have a longer staying power over appearance as a transitory goal.”

If you slip, pick yourself up again. “Slipping is a normal phenomenon. People tend to think that when you are on a roll it will continue as such. But it’s more normal for people to slip. And the attitude should be when you slip … you just get back up … and then start moving on,” says Denky Dela Rosa, M.D., oncologist and life coach at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center and St. Luke’s Medical Center-Bonifacio Global City. Berating ourselves might lead us to break our New Year vows. “It’s the self-talk, which actually creates the vicious cycle. And, therefore, you really have to change your self-talk to a more positive one,” Dr. Dela Rosa stresses. “Tell yourself that you are aiming for change—not perfection.”

Start early. “Fulfilling your New Year’s Resolution in 2014 may start in December. Yes, there are a lot of parties to go to, delicious food to eat and booze to consume, but simply practicing the technique of moderation during the Christmas season may save you and your body a lot of regret come weigh in on the first of January,” says Leandro Miguel Abelardo, C.S.C.S., C.A.A., senior fitness coach of the Weight Management Center at St. Luke’s Medical Center-Bonifacio Global City.

Get five more solutions—straight from our health and fitness experts—to help you stay on track in fulfilling your New Year’s resolutions. Grab a copy of the December 2013-January 2014 issue of HealthToday.

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