The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 1, 2013

SOMMERS: Stay on track for New Year’s resolutions

By Stephanie Sommers
Special to the Herald

CLINTON — At this time each year, we make resolutions to exercise more and improve our health. 

Exercise-related resolutions are wonderful because, if we follow them, we will receive great benefits.  Benefits like reducing stress levels, improving sleep, boosting self-confidence, improving brain function, and lowering medical costs, just to name a few.  Who wouldn’t want all that?  

Sticking to your fitness-related New Year’s resolutions is the key. 

Here are some tips to help keep you on track:

1. Set a realistic goal:  Your goals should be SMART.  SMART stands for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  When you set goals with these guidelines, you are setting yourself up for success.  Look at what may distract you from reaching your goals, and figure out ways to overcome those obstacles.  Once you have all those key parts, then you have set your goal.  

2. Find a partner:  Once you have set your goal, then you should find an accountability partner.  This needs to be someone you can trust and someone that will be honest with you. The best accountability partner is someone that wants to achieve a goal similar to yours.  You need to have one specific person that you can tell how it is going, and multiple people that will help you along the way. For example, a group fitness class is a great way to have multiple accountability partners.  The people that are in fitness classes are normally there on a regular basis and they are going to become your fitness friends.  They keep you in check by asking where you have been and help to keep you motivated.  

3. Schedule/planning:  In my opinion, this is the most important part of your New Year’s resolution. Planning will take stress out of your life, it will help you stay on track, and help you be more productive in your day.  We all have a lot on our plates like work, kids, cooking and cleaning, etc.   These are all very important, but we also need to schedule into our days exactly how we are going to get closer to our resolutions.  Scheduling time for daily exercise is important, plus your kids, work, and even all those daily tasks will all benefit from you taking this time for yourself.  

This year, commit to spending 4 percent of your day on you.  Four percent is one hour of the day. Spend 4 percent of your day on yourself, so the other 96 percent of the day is better.  

To learn more about the YWCA’s programs and services, call or stop by for a copy of the YWCA Winter brochure.  You can also visit the YWCA website at

Each month members of the community are featured highlighting the many facets of the community related to the YWCA.  Stephanie Sommers is the YWCA Health and Wellness director.