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Experts: Resolve to be smart about resolutions

By Josette Keelor

Recycling is a New Year's resolution that helps the earth and makes people feel great about themselves, but the same can't be said for recycling last year's resolution.

To those who anticipate their resolve weakening after a month or two, area professionals offer tips for making sure that doesn't happen.

Start small
Goals too big are doomed to fail, said Deborah Kilgore Inaba, a registered clinical exercise physiologist for Valley Health at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital in Woodstock.

"Consistency is key," she said. "People tend to want to bite off more than they can chew. They want a quick fix, and they want it last week."

Those with financial or organizational goals for 2014 might benefit from a checklist, like one at Commonwealth Financial Network's website, commonwealth.com/RepSiteContent/financial-checklist.htm.

The checklist recommends breaking up tasks into monthly installments for an achievable resolution, like using January to establish a will or trust, create a budget and consider making an extra payment toward a mortgage principal to help shorten the length of the loan.

Each month, complete other goals like reviewing life, home and auto insurance; checking your credit report; shredding old documents and reviewing online accounts.

Get S.M.A.R.T
Resolutions should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely, said wellness life coach and health educator Jessica Bowling, otherwise called S.M.A.R.T.

"If you don't have your mind right, you're not going to stick with your eating, you're not going to stick with your fitness," Bowling said. "Only set one to three goals, realistic goals. ... And the 'realistic' can also be relevant," she added. "It helps people really put those things into perspective."

Try being accountable to someone, Bowling said, because people are more likely to fail if there's no one else to notice whether or not they achieve their goals.

Also, instead of focusing on what not to eat, Bowling said to focus on what you should be eating or other positive aspects of your resolution.

Instead of forcing yourself to exercise, she recommended saying, "I get to go workout and I'm thankful that my body can even do these things."

"They mean the same thing, but you're focusing on the positive side instead of the negative," she said.

Make it count
Inaba said cutting 500 calories from your usual diet each day will help you lose a pound a week -- an easy fix for those have no idea how much they're eating each day.

"Most people are eating upwards of 3,000 to 5,000 calories a day," she said. Caloric intake should be more like 2,000 a day, she said.

Bowling suggested choosing a meal plan heavy on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds. A healthy eating plan doesn't have to exclude fast food, she said, as long as people make good choices.

"Have a salad," she said. "It's so obvious, but just do it."

Websites, apps and other literature can help make goals a priority each day, and she suggested sites like CalorieKing.com, GoMeals.com, FitDay.com and the book "Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health," by William Davis, M.D.

"We all really know how to eat, we just don't want to eat like that," she said. "We know that pop isn't healthy for us, water is. So drink the water."

See the big picture
New Year's resolutions have many proponents, but Deirdre Cochran, a clinical social worker and therapist in Winchester, isn't a fan.

Wanting to change is one thing, but she said real change happens when people examine their lives.

She teaches how to live without regret, having noticed five main regrets people have about their lives: not having the courage to be true to themselves, working too hard, lacking courage to express their feelings, not staying in touch with friends and not letting themselves be happier.

"How do you want to be remembered?" she asked. "How generous are you in your lives? I try to help them look beyond just doing."

"There are a lot of things that you can do in order to deal with your regrets," she said. "We really are in control of most of our lives."

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com

More information:

"No Regrets" program
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church, 6380 Valley Pike, Stephens City
When: 11 a.m. Sunday
What: Free program during the morning service. Everyone is welcome.
Contact: Deirdre Cochran at Deirdre122@gmail.com

New Year New You program
Where: Valley Health at Warren Memorial Hospital Outpatient Center, 120 N. Commerce Ave., Front Royal
When: 12 weeks beginning at 8 a.m. Jan. 21 or 5 p.m. Jan. 22
What: For $450 per person, or 10 percent off for couples, develop an exercise routine and keep track of diets, and get three-month gym membership, daily dietary journal, personal training, massage therapy and wellness life coach sessions.
Contact: Jessica Bowling, 540-635-0720 or jbowling@valleyhealthlink.com

Fitness classes at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital
Valley Health's Sit Fit & Tone class meets in the fitness studio from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and uses rhythmic movement to improve cardiovascular fitness with simple muscle group weight training and conditioning.

Mondays The Burn It Power Hour meets from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the gym.
Tuesdays Cardio Kickbox meets in the studio from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
Wednesdays Step it Strong meets in the studio from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
Thursdays Zen Stretch meets in the studio from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. and suits all ages.

Valley Health also has classes at the Wellness & Fitness Center, 401 Campus Blvd., on the main campus of the Winchester Medical Center. Call Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, 759 S. Main St., Woodstock, at 540-459-6777 or Winchester at 540-536-3000..

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