Here's how to follow through on your New Year's resolutions

DAYTON, Ohio -- Getting into better shape is a common resolution at New Year's, yet many people fail to reach this goal. Here are some tips you might try:

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Marjie Gilliam
, Cox Newspapers

DAYTON, Ohio -- Getting into better shape is a common resolution at New Year's, yet many people fail to reach this goal. Here are some tips you might try:

Goals can be set, but your thoughts are what keep you motivated to reach them. Before making your plan, acknowledge why you want to make a change. Do you want to look better? Feel better? Have more endurance, strengthen your muscles? Can you visualize yourself already in great shape?

When you are motivated, workouts come much more naturally and you look forward to them rather than dreading them. As the impact that fitness has on both your physical and mental health is realized, you are much less likely to want to miss out on this payoff.

Because being active always changes body chemistry for the better, you can use exercise to relax you when you are feeling anxious, and energize you when you need a boost. People who are physically active experience less stress, anxiety and depression, feel better about themselves, and are generally much happier than those who are inactive.

More tips to keep you moving in the right direction: It is vital to seek out a fitness program that piques your curiosity and interests. There are dozens of options for exercise aside from joining a gym, such as learning more about winter sports like cross-country skiing or ice skating, for example.

If home workouts suit you better, there are hundreds of great instructional videos available to keep you active, including weight lifting, yoga, martial arts and even salsa dancing -- whatever appeals to you. Many rec centers and health clubs offer basketball, volleyball and racquetball courts, indoor tracks, and some have heated pools -- all great ways to stay motivated throughout the winter.

Letting others know about your goals can help keep you on track. Discussing your plans with family, friends or co-workers usually means they'll want to check in with you along the way to see how you're doing. Knowing that someone cares feels great, and at the same time, we don't want to let them or ourselves down. That can make the desire to succeed even greater.

If you don't like exercising by yourself, pair up with a fitness buddy, someone who has the same resolution. Having someone with a shared goal to work out with can be incredibly supportive and encouraging for both of you. Make sure the person is someone who truly shares your passion and who is serious about following through.

Remember, each day is a new opportunity, and any exercise or healthy changes to diet are better than none at all. Use the day to practice a new mindset, giving yourself an A for effort, however big or small. If you do experience a setback, remember that it's nothing more than a temporary glitch if you choose it to be.

Marjie Gilliam is a personal trainer and fitness consultant. Email: marjie(at) This article appeared in the Dayton Daily News.

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