How to Be Fit All Year Long As a fitness instructor, I often see major fluctuations in class attendance from month to month. In January, May, and September, my classes are packed. You know exactly what I mean. New Year’s resolutions, pre-summer, and “kids back in school” all send us into a sudden fitness mania. We rush to the gym to pump some iron or to a group exercise class. We might even stand near the instructor, admiring our efforts in the mirror. Others hire a personal trainer. Then, almost out of nowhere, life interrupts. The excuses are plentiful and often legit. Sadly, these almost impulsive decisions to become fit are rarely successful. The sense of failure that accompanies a short-lived resolution can send us on an unhealthy tailspin. The solution is to choose a fitness goal and stick to it. Easier said than done, right? Not really. A true fitness goal needs to be well-planned, honest, and supported. How you ask?: 1. Create a realistic SMART (specific, measurable, attainable/realistic, and timebound). For example, “I will lose 8 pounds by the end of four weeks, which will be August 8th, 2011, by improving my diet, reducing calories, and increasing physical activity.” Write your goal down and tell family and friends about it. The key is to make yourself accountable for the goals you set. 2. Monitor your progress often. Keep a food journal and commit to weighing in on the same day each week. Don’t be discouraged if the number isn’t what you expected, but analyze your recent habits. 3. Recruit others to work out with you. Make sure that it’s someone who is just as enthusiastic and committed as you are, don’t let anyone sabotage your efforts. 4. Reward yourself for the baby steps. The reward shouldn’t be detrimental to your goals! Stay away from any alcoholic, sweet, or high fat reward. 5. Run. There is NO better exercise than running. Sign up and train for a local race. Make sure you announce your intention to as many people as possible, including social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter). Healthy competition against others, or against yourself, will help you stay on track. You’ll be hooked after your first race. Of course, if your joints disagree with running, choose a less high impact activity like swimming. 6. Join a fun fitness class that you enjoy. Zumba, Turbo Kick, and Masala Bhangra all offer fast and catchy beats. Find a qualified instructor (fitness certifications) and get hooked. Go consistently! Whatever you decide, make it a long-lasting habit. The only way you’ll progress is if you stick with it! So, “congratulations, today is your day. You’re off to great places, you’re off and away!” Go for it!