ENERGY EXPRESS

Energize your resolutions: How to make change happen

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How are you doing with your 2002 "healthier lifestyle" resolutions?

Are you exercising at least three times a week? Eating more fruits and vegetables and resisting the sweets and fries? Are you allowing the memory of 2001 to strengthen your determination to spend more time with family and friends and less time stressed and joyless, chasing the future instead of embracing the present?

Let's face it: Making your New Year's resolutions is the easy part. Getting them to stick is the real challenge, especially when it comes to doing the lifestyle changes that lead to more energy, greater strength, less risk of illness. That's why we're going to review some things you need to know and do to make those healthy-living vows last a lifetime.

1. Take a moment to be mindful. Don't make knee-jerk, end-of-year resolutions.

2. Focus on the why. Continue to remind yourself WHY you want to eat better, start a running program, become more flexible, lift weights, etc.

3. Be realistic. Commit to small changes. Setting unrealistic goals only sets you up for failure. Losing 20 pounds in a month, for instance, is foolishness. Be happy with a pound or two a week. Be thrilled, in fact.

4. Be specific. The more generalized your goals, the less likely you are to reach them. And be very specific about what you'll do: when, where, with whom, etc.

5. Find a partner or coach, or join a group. Keeping track of lifestyle changes in a journal is one way to give yourself positive reinforcement. Another great way to stay on track is to find a workout partner or an affordable coach or join a group of people who share your goals - in your neighborhood or perhaps online.

6. Give it time. Some days, the best part of your workout is simply showing up. Accept that. It takes time to develop new habits. Be patient. Be forgiving. If you feel yourself falling down, keep rolling back up.

7. Don't compare yourself to others. Living a healthier lifestyle is a very personal thing. It doesn't matter where you start. What counts is how far you come.

8. Overcome all obstacles. Change can happen more easily when you tell yourself that all obstacles can be overcome. No time? No one to watch the kids? No extra money to spend on health clubs? No problem. Make up your mind and your body will follow.

Take no prisoners, accept no excuses, see every obstacle as a challenge that can be met.

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