By: Kelly Prather, Executive Director of Health Strategies & Member Experience
Kelly is a Health Educator by trade and has spent nearly 20 years in the Y movement specializing in health behavior change, wellness, staff development, and the overall Y Member Experience.
So, I don’t really believe in the coveted New Year’s Resolution. Through my career, I have just watched too many members put immense amounts of pressure on themselves in the month of January. They build it up to be such a BIG thing, but forget that it’s really about all the teeny, tiny steps in between. One cannot lose 50 lbs., without losing 1 lb. first.
But here is what I DO believe in. I do believe in setting small goals and working towards those goals. I know—it’s not fancy. You were probably hoping for something a little more exciting. But of all the people I have seen actually reach their BHAG (that stands for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal) it is the ones who put together a plan, step by step, and stuck to it. They also managed to get up when they slipped. No one, and I mean no one, reaches their BHAG on the first try.
Now, it’s okay to throw those big bodacious goals out there, but make sure to back up to step one. That really is the best way to be successful. For example, if you are setting a goal to start an exercise program, below is one way you could be successful:
Step 1. Determine a minimum number of days each week you will come to the Y to exercise (My suggestion is 3.)
Step 2: Determine how much time you have to exercise when you are at the Y (My suggestion is 30–60 min total per visit.)
Step 3: Schedule to meet with a Y Wellness Coach. It’s one of the things that makes your Y membership so valuable. Although we do offer Personal Training, which could be the right fit for you, our Y Wellness Coach sessions are always available to you at no additional fee. Usually completing a series of two or three can make a big difference. Did you know that nearly all of our Y Wellness Coaches are also certified Personal Trainers? Many have four year degrees and even Masters Degrees in the Wellness field. But at the same time, they are caring and empathetic listeners. It’s one of the things that makes the Y different.
Step 4: Be patient. Remember, change on the outside does not happen overnight (ie: weight-loss). However, you start changing on the inside, and how you feel, almost immediately. This means: less pain, lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular ability, better sleep, and improved management of stress—the list goes on and on.
Step 5: Write down WHY you are committing to make exercise a part of your lifestyle and tape it to your bathroom mirror (reminders are key when we start to lose motivation).
So, this year, why not try a year-round resolution instead of a New Year’s Resolution? And, as always, ask us for help! We are here to educate, guide, support and motivate.