Identify Your "Why" to Keep Your Healthy Resolution

It’s February, that time of year again when about 50 percent of all New Year’s resolutions start falling to the wayside. Health clubs slowly begin to empty while fast-food drive-thrus start to fill. Unfortunately, I see this happen every year: well-meaning people who are really going to “stick with it” this year start falling back into their old habits again. There are plenty of reasons and excuses for this to happen, but the longer I am in the fitness field, the more I think it can be traced to one common denominator: not enough pain.

I’m not talking just achy joints and sore backs pain. I’m talking about I-don’t-like-what-I-see-in-the-mirror pain. The I-don’t-know-if-I’ll-live-long-enough-to-meet-my-grandchildren pain. The My-partner-is-no-longer-physically-attracted-to-me pain. The I’m-going-to-lose-my-job-if-I-don’t-lower-my-blood-pressure pain. The kind of pain that keeps you up at night.

It’s my belief that when something hurts badly enough, you’ll do something about it. Until then, it’s often just too easy to let other things take priority. When you realize that you might lose something or someone you value immensely, you’ll fight to keep it. The challenge is having the foresight and discipline to not let it get to this point of desperation. So, I’ll pose this question: On a scale of 1-10, how good do you feel about your body, both in its appearance and how well it functions?

If you answered an 8 or higher, then congratulations! You can stop reading now. Keep up with the healthy things you’ve been doing, and keep challenging yourself with new activities and challenges to keep from burning out!

If you’re between a 5-7, then make sure you’re not taking your health and fitness for granted. Realize that there is room for improvement and that you need to remind yourself why your health is important. And who doesn’t want to feel better about themselves? Identify the areas that you need to improve in (diet, cardio, stretching) and make that a priority this year!

And if you’re a 4 or lower, then ask yourself if you’re OK with that. If you’re not and want to improve, then it’s time to change. Identify why you feel the way you do about yourself and write it down on paper. Realize that those flaws are not what define you; they’re simply areas in which you can and should improve. Set realistic goals, and focus on the daily behaviors that will allow you to reach your goals.

Most importantly, write down why it’s important that you make these changes. Find your pain, and let that be your motivation. Make sure your reasons are strong enough to make you exercise even when you don’t want to and are important enough to help you fight temptation when it’s in front of you. Remember what could (and probably will) happen if you don’t make these changes. And don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have an accountability partner that you check in with, sign up for a MyFitnessPal account (which has a great community support aspect), or work with a health and fitness professional to help you stay on the straight and narrow. There are plenty of resources to help you if you want it bad enough!

Andrew Henderson is the owner of Fitness Together in Bearden, Farragut, Hardin Valley and Northshore Drive. Learn more at KnoxFT.com.