Keep Your New Year's Resolutions!

bonne marcusGuest blogger: Bonne Marcus
A fitness industry expert for 27 years, Marcus holds numerous certifications from the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), including Step, Spin, Bosu™, Pre/Post Natal, Youth Fitness, Aqua, and Personal Training. She has taught for New York City’s top health clubs, including Crunch, New York Health and Racquet, and Reebok Sports Club. A recognized name on Long Island, Bonne has taught at Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds, North Shore Health Club, LA Fitness, Sport time, Equinox and currently teaches at the Sid Jacobsen JCC in Roslyn. Learn more at

woman exercising
Photo Credit: iStock/Maridav

"This year, I resolve to..." How many of us recite these words as the ball starts to drop, only to feel less-than-motivated by February? Don't despair — lack of motivation strikes even the most disciplined exercisers. Try to remember how good you felt about yourself after completing your workout, and be proud that you've started a program at all. Then, follow these handy tips to keep yourself going.

Believe it can happen.
Make certain you truly believe that you can achieve the goals you set for yourself. Picture yourself achieving those goals. You must believe you can do it and are worth it. I visualize every change I want to make to my appearance, my eating, and my workouts. In planning my workouts, I'll run through the workout in my head on my way to the gym so the process is already ingrained in my psyche. I find that visualizing my plans makes it all the easier to follow through with them. Telling myself I can do it gives me a positive attitude and goes a long way toward making them a reality.

Commit to the plan, then go for it.
Okay, you've got your workout plan with your specific goals, you've been visualizing your success, and you're telling yourself you can do it. Now what? Follow through! All the wishful thinking in the world is not going to make your goals happen. Here's where you must take action and "just do it." Realize that you don't have to love exercise for it to work, but if you follow through with your well-devised plan, it will work.

Focus on the process.
Rome wasn't built in a day. Concentrate on what you can do on a day-to-day basis and understand that it is all about the process rather than the destination. Long-term fitness goals are just that — long term. Programs that offer "quick results in just two weeks" usually sacrifice quality for empty promises in order to get your money. Understand that your goals will take small committed steps over time. Remind yourself your actions are cumulative. Ask yourself, "Will what I am about to do help me achieve my goals?" Make positive, consistent choices.

Accept setbacks, then regroup.
One skipped workout, one not-so-good meal, and one too many office cookies are not going to destroy your fitness and health goals. I slip up occasionally, but I don't beat myself up over it. Instead, I focused on what happened. Did I skip exercising because I didn't plan my day appropriately? Could I have scaled back the workout instead of missing one entirely? Did my eating go down the drain on a particular day because I didn't pack my lunch like I had planned? Be realistic about your situation, and then make changes accordingly. Remember that change takes place one step at a time. Do your best each day, and be forgiving if you fall off track. Just get right back putting one foot in front of the other.

  • Do a little bit rather than nothing. For example, let's say you planned a 45-minute walk, but you just feel too tired. Go ahead and let yourself take a 10-minute walk. You may find that once you get started, you'll feel inspired to keep on going. Or, if you really are too tired, then 10 minutes is enough (and better than nothing).
  • Indulge in some retail therapy — my favorite. Get something new during the January sales: a new CD, fitness DVD, book (Perhaps my book? Fit To Be Tied; The Wedding Workout) or new piece of workout gear; something that makes you want to use it for exercise.
  • Change your workout schedule. If you're always at the same class, try something new! A new fitness regime will re-awaken any sleeping muscle groups and a new environment can bring about a renewed sense of spirit. If you're not a group fitness fan, hire a personal trainer (I’m available. Email me at [email protected]) to revamp your routine.

Train for something.
I know the wedding day is the "something" you are training for, but maybe a charity race or a triathalon is something else that will keep you inspired. Whatever you decide, dedicate one or two workouts each week to preparing for this special event. Allow rest and recovery time; although you may be gung ho about overhauling your fitness and eating plans, remember to take time for yourself to recover both physically and mentally. Grab dinner with friends one night, treat yourself to a massage, take a yoga or stretch class, or slip into a bubble bath — something that lets your body know that you appreciate its efforts.

Personally, as a fitness leader and educator, what keeps me motivated is helping other people. I believe so much in the power of fitness to enhance daily living that I want to share it with other people so they, too, can enjoy their lives even more. When I see the positive changes in my clients, it makes me feel great, and that's what really keeps me going. Let me know how I can help you — send your questions to [email protected]. Happy New Year!

—Bonne Marcus