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Resolution time

Here we go again, time when people reflect on the state of their belly as much as the state of their life.

Health Club owners love this time as membership sales increase dramatically, while avid workout buffs dread the first two months of the year as it becomes more difficult to get on a piece of exercise equipment at the gym.

Personally, I think this is a very important time of the year for many. Health and fitness may have gotten pushed to the side last year as other life factors took priority. January 1st just happens to be the time when many are ready to put it back into their life. Of course the key is to make it truly happen and not just let it fall back again in late February - like it does for so many.

With every new client who joins our training program, we have them set both result and action goals. An example of a result goal would be losing 20 pounds of body fat; whereas action goals would be the habits you create to achieve this desired result. For example, exercising four days a week for 60 minutes and limiting processed foods. Action goals are really the most important. If you make your focus these actions and not just the results (i.e. obsessively stepping on the scale) you will likely be successful. Of course this is assuming you have developed a smart and effective plan of action.

Both action and result goals require four steps. Goals should be measurable and achievable.

1.) Make a Decision: Making a decision is a real, conscious choice made by you alone. It must be clear and specific. It is too easy to say, “I’d like to lose weight this year. That is my resolution.” That is not a decision it is a preference. It is the same as saying, "I'd like to make more money." Really? Most of us would prefer that. A real decision is made when you cut off any possibility except what you have committed to; there is absolutely no looking back! This is the same for your Action Goals. "I am going to make it to the gym this year no matter what."

2.) Make it Specific: Returning to our statement: “I’d like to lose weight this year, that is my resolution.” Not only is this not a decision it is not specific. How much do you want to lose? Never leave a goal ambiguous- that is not a goal at all. Saying that you want to lose 20 lbs of body fat is clear and specific. Again for your action goal, "I am going to exercise with both weights and traditional cardio, maintaining a heart rate above 135 beats, and do all this for 60 minutes, four times a week." Now that is specific.

3.) Make it Time Dependent: O.K. now you are being specific and you want to lose 20 lbs of body fat. When? Next year? In 2 weeks? Some time in your life? This is probably the biggest mistake we see with result goal setting. You are giving yourself a reason to procrastinate! Make your decision and goal time-dependent: "I want to lose 20 lbs of body- fat by April 1st. " Now that is time dependent. Obviously time dependence relates best to your result goal. Although you may be able to modify some of your action goals when you hit your result goal, they should stay a part of your routine for life.

4.) Make it Realistic: Never set yourself up for failure. Unrealistic goal setting will do just that. Saying that you want to lose 20 lbs of body fat in one month is not only unrealistic but also not physiologically possible for most of us without losing any lean body mass. Being realistic applies to both your result and action goals. With action goals consistency is king. I would take a client who decides to workout four days a week for 60 minutes and does this for three months straight than the client who says they are going to workout every day - but actually goes five days one week, and one day the next week and so on. When you are consistent, you build habits and you feel like a success, two important components for hitting and maintaining your goals. Know your life and be fair with all your priorities, put fitness up at the top, but obviously it will need to share time with the others.

Whether you are already consistent with fitness and have some new goals or are ready to jump back on the wagon for the first time in a while- this is a great time of the year for it. Prioritize, use these four steps and set solid action and result goals. Once you feel and see progress, you should have no problem making this a habit for life. And don't be afraid to get assistance- even if it is to simply sit down with a fitness professional and have them review your plan or to explain your goals and create accountability.

Doing so can save you much time and effort in the pursuit of your goal.

Diverge Personal Training Gym opened in 2008, yet it has had its roots within the Hillcrest neighborhood for over 10 years. The co-owners Brian White and Derek Heintz have been helping the community with their fitness goals since 1998.

Derek is one of the leading fitness experts in San Diego. With his strong background in nutrition and fitness education, and 15 years of personal training experience, Derek created the Edge Advantage™: a customized fitness system designed to help you take your fitness to the next level.