27 Dec

Resolutions can reflect our greatest hopes. They can be a description our most intimate dreams. They can be our well thought out plans. If nurtured like a beautiful flower, all this can grow into happy, healthy and long lives! Hopes and dreams backed by action undeniably enrich and enhance life. But unfulfilled hopes, dreams and plans can harm self-esteem and confidence which creates disappointment and real pain. So, before jumping into declaring your 2013 resolutions, let’s poke around at what we can do and / or think about first in order to prepare for real success. That way, when 2014 arrives we will be extremely satisfied with our 2013 results and ourselves. That way, on January 1, 2014 we will be very happy with life and enthused about 2015 and beyond!

If we want FITNESS BEYOND EXPECTATIONS, we need to spend some time figuring out what expectations exist. Then we can set realistic but challenging resolutions.

For me, I need to become aware of expectations that exist for women. Both men and women can use the President’s Adult Fitness Test which includes an aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition tests. Each section includes information on what the results of each test means.  I have checked out expectations that exist for people over age 60. I’m not even going to acknowledge all the negative stereotypes for older people. You already know about that. Instead, no matter how old you are, I invite you to help us all open the doors to the possibilities. Even if you are younger than 60, this impacts you too because I assume you’re into fitness because you want to live a long, vibrant, active life. Let’s start now to smash the “little old lady” image! Here’s an awesome website that helps with that.    Here are my notes on an inspirational book that uses science to debunk the old notions while providing SPECIFIC recommendations to assure people can have healthy vibrant lives no matter their age.  Finally, I will be very specific with myself about what my expectations are for me personally! After I’m done following all the advice in this post, I’ll be sharing my 2013 resolutions.

Here is some interesting information on resolutions and methods that help people pursue their goals.

Thanks to John for posting this infographic on New Year’s Resolutions. It shows the results of a study comparing 2012 and 2013 resolution setting.

Be very clear about the fact that a resolution is simple a desire to change a habit.


How ready you are to develop new habits? There are studies that provide insight into readiness for change. The study by Norcross, Krebs & Prochaska in 2011 determined that readiness to change is a 5 stage process.

Attitudes at each of the 5 stages of change

  1. Pre-contemplation –
    The person has no intention of changing behavior and may be either unaware of problematic behavior or demoralized by past failures.
  2. Contemplation – The person is aware of a need to change and intends to take action but lacks commitment to actually start.
  3. Preparation – The person has decided to start changing behavior and has a concrete plan of action, such as going to the gym or starting a specific diet plan.
  4. Action – The person has made specific changes in the recent months.
  5. Maintenance – The person has executed the desired behavior and is working to prevent a relapse.

Using this information, we can evaluate where we are in terms of readiness. Obviously it’s best to be at stage 4 since actions equal results. But, if you see that you are in stages 2 or 3, then you can make sure that you incorporate specific actions in your plan that will help you move to the next stage.


Again, a resolution is a decision to change a habit. So, to be successful at that, it makes sense to better understand about habits! In order for you to succeed at change, you need to BELIEVE that it is possible to change. The more information a person has about that process, the more likely they will realize that they really can change their habits. A huge percent of what we do during our day to day lives is driven by habits rather than by specific decisions. Things like time of day, locations and other common cues trigger our response to automatically follow a specific routine. Typically these responses have been in place for decades and were installed when we were young. Understandably, changes to these routines aren’t simple and require focused attention. Recognizing that rewards feed the habits is critical to finding your way to shifting that cycle. Unfortunately, sometimes rewards are short term and they only create harm for the long term. An awareness of the habit cycle involves studying: 1) cues that trigger 2) routines that provide 3) rewards.

  1. Identify the cues and remove them (i.e. get rid of all processed foods in your home)
  2. Clearly see the routine (i.e. study options for dealing with nighttime cravings)
  3. Establish new rewards of new habits (i.e. go dancing or to a movie or take a day off when you make progress on your goal)
  4. Nurture inner strength with self-awareness.

After setting your goal, be as SPECIFIC as possible when planning the ACTIONS you’ll take to get there!

Dr. Oz has lots of great, SPECIFIC suggestions of things you can do.

Use a online tool such as this one to create a SPECIFIC activity plan.

Here are few more tips to support your success:

  • Build FUN into your plan. Play sports with your kids! Try hula hooping. Go dancing, dance at home in your living room, do gardening, explore nature or engage in any activity that moves your body and is also FUN!
  • Remember that you only need to take ONE step at a time, one day at a time.
  • Make sure some of your fitness activities are shared with other people. Maybe a fitness partner will help.  We are social creatures and support matters. Maybe you’d like to plan a biking vacation or a horseback riding adventure, or a canoe trip. Be active. Maybe it motivates you to help others. If it does, create a blog to track your progress and share what works for you!
  • Find ways to make yourself accountable. Tell family and friends about your goals and your plans. Join our Fitness Beyond Expectations Facebook page
  • Create your specific activity plan.
  • Don’t wait for the perfect time or the perfect weather or the perfect anything to begin. Perfection never arrives. Start now!

After letting the answers to these questions percolate around in your brain for a while, you should be better prepared to not only create some great resolutions for 2013 but to also have some plans that support those resolutions!

Let’s do this!

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