Fitness resolution #1: don't join the gym

Every January, fitness facilities around the country become jam-packed, filled with well-intentioned people who've resolved to exercise, become fit, and live healthier lives. The enthusiasm is palpable. The energy level is high. My schedule quickly fills, and I spend the month juggling twice as many clients as I do at any other time of year.

Then February rolls around, and all those new people disappear.

Why does this happen?

Here's my theory: most of those new exercisers dash to classes and treadmills so they can check off an item on their extensive "To-Do" lists. Getting to the gym is a chore, something they feel they should do, not something they want to do.

This approach is off, because committing to exercise and healthy living is extremely difficult if you don't truly desire it. Think about it: who in her right mind pays a monthly fee to drag herself out of bed so she can sweat alongside a bunch of strangers? There's got to be a motive that goes deeper than, "My doctor told me to lose weight." You've got to want real change.

Here's a tip for truly realizing your fitness goals: make it a resolution to find the physical activity that you love, the activity you'll want to come back to, the activity that makes you feel good, refreshed, and young when you do it. Brainstorm activities you enjoyed as a child.Try lots of things: bike, hike, ski, skate, bowl, rock climb. Sign up for ballroom, swing, or tap dancing classes. Take classes you've always been curious about: yoga, Pilates, spin. Come spring, join a soccer league, running club or tennis club. Organize a foursome and play golf.

If you get bored, don't fret. Simply move on. Consider your adventure in physical activity a discovery that will reveal facets of your personality you never realized were there. Enjoy the new experiences, new challenges, and new friends that come your way.

It's your first step to a healthier you.

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