Jerad Shafer started off the new year by joining the Activity and Recreation Center on Wednesday.
Joining the gym isn’t his only resolution, but he feels it is probably the most important. “I’m unhealthy and need to live a healthier life and exercise more,” he said.
Shafer has yet to design a strict workout plan, but he hopes to get to the gym at least three times per week, when he has free time.
Shafer is one of many hoping to lead a healthier lifestyle as the year begins.
Tom Fiegel, who has been working out at Key Largo gym since 1978, when it was called North Village Gym, said he sees new faces every January.
He advises new members not to quit. “The best workout is the day you don’t want to work out,” he said.
But health psychologist Lynn Rossy said, “It’s estimated that only 10 percent of people who set New Year’s Resolutions reach them.”
Rossy works year-round to help people achieve their goals of living healthy lives through Healthy for Life, the T.E. Atkins UM Wellness Program. The program, according to its Web site, works to promote health and develop workplace wellness for the UM system.
Rossy has plenty of suggestions for those trying to stick to their New Year’s resolutions and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“It’s important not to get discouraged and to have a sense of humor. It’s also really helpful to engage other people, joining with your efforts to reach your goals. Everybody wants to exercise more. One of the best ways is to do it with a friend, take your dog for a walk, whatever. Either that or letting people know what you’re doing,” she said.
It is also important to be kind to yourself as you make changes to your lifestyle, Rossy said.
“We set our goals too high, we make them too difficult to achieve, we want them too fast. A big part of any kind of program of change is to accept where you are right now, and that’s really hard for people. ... That means having compassion for yourself.
Joan Smith, administrative support supervisor at the Activity and Recreation Center, confirmed that this is a busy time of the year.
“You can definitely tell a pick-up in the last couple of weeks,” she said.
It is not until March that the center sees a drop in activity, she said.
“The cooler months are our busiest. Summers are the slowest,” Smith said.
The start of a new year seems to be the ideal time for many to make lifestyle changes. It is not, however, the only time you can do so, Rossy said.
“Its helpful for people not to get too caught up in the idea that the only time you can start making changes in your life is New Year’s. That sets you up for failure. Every day really is a new day to recommit to positive changes in your life,” Rossy said.