Setting Achievable Health and Fitness Goals

By John Focht

So it’s another New Year; what is your resolution that you won’t keep this year? New Year’s resolutions can be tricky, especially if your resolution is to get in better shape or lose the extra pounds that built up during the Thanksgiving weekend, Holiday parties, office parties, and Christmas feeding frenzies.

The biggest challenge with the losing weight and getting into shape resolutions is they typically lose their gusto a week or so into January.  You start off the New Year with the right intention of losing weight and getting into better shape, but the day-to-day grind of the job, the family, other commitments, normally sets you back into your old ways pretty quick.

When setting your “better health” resolution this year, add a bit of a twist to it that will force you to honor it. Make this resolution to run in a 5K race this spring; a 5k race is 3.2 miles.  Refocusing your resolution to compete in an event will help you attain your real goal which is losing weight or getting in better shape.

To keep you focused on being able compete in a race in the spring, put a good training guide and regimen together to ensue you are actually able to compete in the event. Whether it is a 5K or a 5 block race, the odds are pretty good that you won’t be able complete the race without properly using the first few months of the year to get yourself into better shape.

Depending on how long it’s been since you actually ran, spend the first few weeks of January simply walking. Start with walking around the block after dinner.  Get your body used to physical activity again – especially if it’s been awhile since you have really done any real exercising.  After all, the race is in the spring, not in January, so pace yourself and ease back into the feel of physical exertion again.  From there, kick it up to twice around the block, then try some speed walking.

Be careful of the trap though, this is also where a number of New Year’s Resolutions fail because people feel they need to be able to run 3 miles within a few days or weeks. When they can’t, they quickly become discouraged and quit. Stick with your plan and use the winter months to ease your body into the shape it needs to be to run 3 miles.

Once you are into the end of January timeframe, notch up your training to a mixture of speed-walking and jogging. By mid-February you should be in full jogging mode two-three times around the block.

Once the end of February and the beginning of March come around, your training program should be completing a 5K run straight through. As April and spring begin peaking around the corner, the only thing you will be working toward is bettering your time.

So, set realistic goals on how you will get in better shape and lose weight with this year’s New Year’s Resolution. Give yourself a concrete goal and target and use the motivation of competing in the race as your guide to achieving your resolution.

This article was originally published on the Yahoo! Voices Network