This is my favorite time of year! It’s that time when we begin thinking of all the things we will do differently. However, as a fitness professional for many years, I’ve seen over and over again people who make New Year’s resolutions and never keep them. New Year’s resolutions just set you up for failure because you have not been successful in the past. This year consider creating a “Wellness Vision.” What is wellness? A definition I like is “Wellness is the condition of good physical and mental health, especially when maintained by proper diet, exercise and life habits.”

In my Forever Fit Living program, participants begin by developing a personal vision for themselves. A vision includes general statements that address what you wish to accomplish in the longer term (six months, one year, five years, etc.). As a guide, a vision can define: Self-Image: Who do I want to be when it comes to health, fitness and wellness?

Behaviors: What do I want to do consistently? (Exercise regularly, eat well, relax more, etc.)

Outcomes: What do I want to have happen? (Weight loss, greater fitness, less stress, better health, etc.)

Motivators: Why does this matter to me? (I want to feel better and be healthier; I want an ideal quality of life, etc.)

Examples of Wellness Visions:

My wellness vision in the next six months is to reverse my trend of steady weight gain so I can look better, feel younger and wear stylish clothes.

My wellness vision is to establish healthy eating habits so I can set a good example for my children. Health visions can also be included in the total picture. For example:

My health vision in the next year is to improve my health, in particular reduce my cholesterol, to lower my risk of heart disease.

My health vision is to quit smoking for good, take charge of my health and feel greater well-being and contentment.

Develop a Set of three-month behavioral goals. This is a critical first step. Breaking down your goals into small, manageable steps rather than just focusing on the end result can be a breakthrough. Rather than looking at the mountain ahead just focus on the first foothill. Behavioral goals should always be directly linked to your vision. For example, if you want to be more energetic, be sure the behavioral goals are designed to increase energy. A three-month timeframe is best to start, learn and maintain a new set of behaviors. Setting three-month behavioral goals will result in the desired outcome.

Examples of outcomes are:

Increase cardiovascular health so I don’t die prematurely. Lose weight so I have more energy. Increase bone density so I reduce my risk of osteoporosis.

Increasing cardiovascular health, losing weight and increasing bone density are really what you want to happen as a result of doing certain behaviors. Being realistic and doing the behavior consistently will allow you to achieve these results.

Examples of three-month behavioral goals that will lead to the above outcomes:

I will do three 30-minute sessions of walking each week at 60-70 percent of my maximum heart rate.

I will eat at least three vegetables and two fruits every day.

I will do two 20-minute strength training sessions per week.

It’s time to take control and experience all that you have ever hoped to accomplish. Get the help and tools you need to make a difference this year. Happy New Year! Make it great in 2008!