When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, the path to success may best be taken in small steps, according to some local experts.
If your resolution is to get in shape
“It’s very important that people start slow,” said Cheryl Pitkin, the Physiology Lab Coordinator at Central Oregon Community College. “A person who has never been in shape before should be careful, because they can burn out.”
At the Physiology Lab at COCC, Pitkin can help people avoid such pitfalls.
“Find out your physiology,” said Pitkin. “Then we can give suggestions to a workout plan.”
Along with a solid beginning, strategies in moving forward in that plan can be crucial to success.
“Setting realistic goals is important,” said Andy Layman, an Oregon State University Cascades Exercise Science major. “People get frustrated by not accomplishing their goals.”
These frustrations can lead to giving up altogether.
“The average person quits by 12 weeks,” said Pitkin. “People shouldn’t be hard on themselves if they miss a day.”
Maintaining motivation is a major factor when trying to alter any area of behavior, particularly in the beginning.
“It takes 21 to 30 days to settle into a new routine,” said Robin Spring, a Licensed Professional Counselor for the Counseling Service of Bend. “People fail because they don’t keep their motivation.”
If your resolution is to eat healthy
When it comes to eating healthier, Spring suggests small changes at first.
“It helps to look at things to add instead of what to take away,” said Spring. “If I want to eat a cookie, first I have to eat a banana, then I can have my cookie.”
It also helps to get rid of the bad stuff.
“Don’t have junk food in the house,” Spring said, “it’s easier not to eat it.”
If your resolution is to quit smoking
Another popular resolution at New Years is to quit smoking, and Spring, who specializes in addiction as well as weight loss, has advice on that also.
“Change your environment,” said Spring. “Don’t be around people who smoke.”
Spring also suggests finding a quitting buddy.
“It’s helpful to have someone that you’re accountable to,” Spring said, “that’s why groups can help.”
In the end it comes down to what Spring calls “changing your brain.”
“If I tell myself that I am young and can handle it, as opposed to focusing on the lasting health consequences, it will be hard to change any bad habit,” said Spring.