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Don't Resolve to Lose Weight in 2004

It’s a ... Each time we ring in a new year, people conduct a “state of the person” and evaluate ... career, their current wealth (or lack ... and their health. Then they reso

It’s a tradition! Each time we ring in a new year, people conduct a “state of the person” and evaluate themselves-their career, their current wealth (or lack thereof), and their health. Then they resolve to change what they’re not happy with. But the big question is: how many actually follow through?

If a change in the date is a reason to reflect, that’s great. But is that by itself a true motivator, or a real catalyst for change? Why should the fact that you’re now writing “04” on your checks be a reason to lose weight and get fit? All too soon, it will seem natural to write that new date, and you’ll lose the feeling that too much time has passed you by without results.

If you really want to lose weight and get fit, don’t call it a New Year’s Resolution. And for Heaven’s sake don’t call it a diet either! Both of these are temporary, and everyone knows that. You’ll be setting yourself up for ultimate failure from the beginning, because not only will you think it’s temporary, but so will everyone you need to support your efforts.

Losing weight and getting fit is all about improving your health. That’s the only real reason to do it. And why do you want to improve your health? Do you want to live longer? Do you desire a better “quality of life” as you grow older? Are there specific things you have a burning desire to do, like traveling to far away places or playing with your grandkids, that demand good health and fitness? Getting in touch with your personal “why improve my health” is the one and only true long-term motivator. Think about this, reflect on it, and then write down every reason you can think of for improving your health. And don’t forget where you put it! You’ll need to pull this list out and refer to it when the going gets tough.

And the going will get tough because true long-term weight management and fitness will require changes in your behavior. Replacing long held habits with healthier ones, finding time for exercise, and discovering better ways to eat, are all necessary changes but may not be easy for you. This business of getting healthy is major work; make no mistake about that! And it’s not something you can ditch after a few months if you want to keep the progress you’ve made. Even if you lose all the weight you want and develop the body of your dreams, it doesn’t end there! You must maintain your focus in order to keep the improvements you’ve made. Your house needs paint sometimes and your car needs oil changes. Your body needs maintenance too! If you return to the old habits that made you overweight and out of shape, you’ll go right back to that state.

So while you’re in the mood to reflect, don’t forget to reflect on what made you gain weight and lose your fitness in the first place. Knowing what triggers unnecessary eating and/or unhealthy eating can help you to change. Maybe you lost your fitness simply because you were involved in sports and you stopped doing that due to the other demands of your life. Now it is time to find ways to get fit again, and you may not want to do the same things you did before. You might need to get creative with both the type of activity and the time to do it. It really helps to know what happened in the past as you reflect on what will or will not work in the future.

If you really desire health and fitness in 2004, don’t make it a “resolution.” Develop a life plan instead! Decide on real changes you can make, one at a timeHealth Fitness Articles, to move you in the right direction. Don’t try to change everything at once! But do write out all of the needed steps and start working on them. It’s just like starting a business and keeping it going. Plan your work and work your plan!

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Dale Reynolds is an author and weight loss counselor in upstate New York. Her book is entitled "A Slim Book On Weighty Matters". She has a website,, with tips and a free biweekly newsletter.

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