Reinforcing New Year’s resolutions with long-lasting resolve

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By Dr. Ira Shapiro
Director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center
Old Bridge, New Jersey

Millions of Americans begin each New Year with resolutions to lose weight and get fit.

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Unfortunately, 80 percent of all resolutions fail by the second week of February according to U.S. News & World Report. The predominant reason is that most people set goals that are well beyond their reach. No matter the determination, years of inactivity cannot be overcome in just a few short weeks. There’s nothing wrong with aiming high, but there is no way to run a marathon without months of proper training or healthfully losing 30 pounds without a sensible combination of will power, diet, and exercise.

Another problem surrounds the inability or lack of desire to change bad habits. Wanting something is drastically different than taking the steps necessary to facilitate success. Positive thoughts are nice, but resolve and planning based in reality is even better. Expecting to lose weight or inches off the waistline, while regularly indulging in cookies, candy, and cake just won’t work.

In addition, it’s nearly impossible to achieve any of these goals without a good night’s rest. Some people can’t get by without seven to eight hours of solid sleep. Others do just fine with six. How do you know you’re not getting enough? If you’re forgetful, drowsy, feel generally unproductive, moody, easily stressed, and yes, gaining weight, there’s a good chance that you’re either not spending enough quality time in bed. The bedroom should be for two things – sleep and sex. Concentrate on only those two things and each are likely to become far more productive.

Now that you’ve cleared or least recognized these hurdles it’s time to focus on the paths that will help you achieve your fitness goals. First, don’t take on too much too soon. Start slow. Be realistic. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is going to be easy. But, that doesn’t mean it has to be especially hard either. Most people think every workout must accompany sweat, grunting, and pain in order to be effective. This just isn’t true. It’s important to push yourself. But, not to the point of injury. Pain works like an alarm. If you feel it, stop what you’re doing immediately. This is a sign something is wrong. Trying to work through the pain will likely only aggravate the problem further.

Next, don’t do what you don’t like. The objective is to identify healthy patterns that fit your lifestyle and can be performed regularly. Maybe yoga and weights aren’t for you. Don’t let that get you down. In this day and age, there are a wealth of programs at the gym and on tv or cd from which to choose. The key is finding what you like and sticking to it. Then again, there is nothing wrong with old standbys such as a brisk, old-fashioned walk. In fact, many people find after-dinner walks during the winter months both refreshing and invigorating.

And finally, don’t give up. Most individuals are susceptible to the occasional bad day, week or even month. Motivate yourself with constant reminders of the reasons that made you set your resolution in the first place. Feeling and looking better. Fitting more comfortably into tight clothes. Breathing easier after a run to the bus or a game of chase with the grandkids. It’s important to stay in the right frame of mind. Be smart. Form a plan filled with the activities and good healthy foods you like. Seek expert advice and assistance. Adapt when necessary. And the rest will follow if you’re dedicated to sticking with it.

For more information on creating better, fitter and healthier lives for the entire family please contact the Plaza Chiropractic Center at 732-723- 0023 or visit www.plazachiro.com. Our trained staff will be happy to work with you, no matter your age or condition, to develop a safe and effective wellness program that complements your life style and offers long-lasting fitness rewards.

Dr. Ira A. Shapiro is the director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center, which he founded in Old Bridge in 1984. A two-time member of the U.S. Olympic team medical staff, he has provided safe, gentle and effective chiropractic care to tens of thousands of patients ranging from community members to professional athletes competing at the highest international levels.

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