Originally published in the Jan 2016 Greater Newburyport Mothers & Families Newsletter.

It’s that time of year again… you know what I’m talking about, the dreaded guilt-forming

New Year’s Resolution Showdown.

Let me guess... fitness is on your list for 2016? If not, it should be. And you know what? This IS your year. You CAN do it. Stop the cycle of breaking promises and saying “to hell with it,” as you reach for that cookie. You ARE strong enough, motivated enough, and, gosh darn it, damn right, vixen worthy. To help, here is a list of my top ten ideas to get you out of the bed and into your yoga pants.

  1. Commit to 66 days instead of one year. You may have heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit. Well, that’s a myth (I’m sorry to burst your bubble). Research shows that it takes approximately two months to really make a habit, some of us more time, some less. If you think about it, 66 days is really not that long. Start by making short attainable goals that last two months at a time. Two-month chunks make committing to a year of workouts so much more digestible. I am willing to bet that by the end of the 66 days, you will want to keep going. Exercise releases endorphins (i.e. this is a bet I can’t lose).
  2. Keep it fresh and go three times a week. You need at least three workouts a week to see results. You also need to not be bored. Make this your mantra: Variety is the spice of life. Mix up your workouts. Lucky for you, we have an incredible amount of variety in the North Shore, from pole dance to yoga to barre. Get your groove on.
  3. Schedule it. If it’s not in your calendar it’s probably not happening. You wouldn’t miss an important meeting, so why would you miss the MOST important meeting of your week? You know, the “you-time” meeting? I had a mentor tell me once that the days he didn’t work out he got less accomplished. It was as if working out organized his brain. I, too, have found this to be true. You. Are. Not. Too. Busy. To. Work. Out. Stop making excuses and make it happen.
  4. Buy yourself something fun to wear. It’s a lot more fun to work out if you are at least the slightest bit excited about getting dressed. Put the Hanes sweatpants away and buy yourself those leopard print leggings you have been coveting, with the sports top that has so many straps it will take you a half an hour to get into it. Just make sure you give yourself ample time to corral yourself into your new attire before you have to be at class.
  5. Phone a friend. It’s much easier to keep your commitment if you have someone else to help make you accountable. Plus, belly dance is a zillion times more hysterical while watching your friend trying to shake her literal bells.
  6. Track your progress. Get accurate measurements on your waist, hips, calves, and bust. If you are feeling really saucy, get fat caliper tested. Also, THROW OUT YOUR #%@&%! SCALE. Muscle weighs more than fat. Gauge your progress by your jeans size instead.
  7. On this note—Don’t quit when you feel like a bulldog. With over twenty-five years of teaching experience, I can tell you that most folks quit around week four. Their muscle cells are getting bigger while their fat cells are simultaneously shrinking. This IS good. However, during this crossover period you are going to feel “beefy.” Stick it out. You can’t sweat out fat, but you can shrink your fat cells and the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism. When you get to the other side of the crossover period (about 2 to 4 more weeks – oh look 66 days!), you are going to be a lean and mean machine, with gams and guns that stop traffic.
  8. Talk about it. Tell your friends about your workout. Not only is this a good advertising (thank you) for the businesses in town, it is another way to hold yourself accountable. People will start to ask you how your classes are going, and what you did to get that booty. It’s a great conversation starter, “I know… I DO look fabulous… I’m doing so much barre, you should see how high I can lift my leg. Who knew?!”
  9. Take a day off. Just in case you get overly ambitious and start working out every single day, take it down a notch. You must give your muscles time to recover. Schedule one day off a week.
  10. Reward yourself. When you hit one of your small attainable goals (see number 1) go get a gluten-free, vegan, sugarless cupcake. Wha?! Just kidding. Go get a real cupcake with extra frosting. You know, one of the expensive ones.