Talkin’ about resolutions

By Anita Grace –

The start of a new year is often a time when people seek to make positive changes in their life. With plenty of good intentions, most start off strong.

“But after the four to six week mark, motivation starts to wane,” observes Sarah Zahab, Registered Kinesiologist and co-owner of Continuum Fitness and Movement Performance on Churchill Avenue.

Setting goals for 2014? Local fitness expert Sarah Zahab says slow and steady always wins the race. Photos by Andrea Tomkins.
Setting goals for 2014? Local fitness expert Sarah Zahab says slow and steady always wins the race. Photos by Andrea Tomkins.

So how can you stay on track with your New Year’s resolutions? Local experts and goal setters offer some tips for helping you make good on your goals in 2014.

Geordie McConnell, owner of Wellington West’s Ottawa Fit, recommends keeping goals realistic. “If you try to change too many things at once, your chances of success are less likely,” he says. “You set yourself up for success by having smart, attainable goals.”

He also says it is important to focus on the process, not the outcome, and that the process should be enjoyable. “It comes down to a simple three-letter word: fun. If you can find activities that are fun to do, you’re more likely to stick with them.”

Similarly, Zahab recommends that it’s important to figure what motivates you, such as a group class, a personal trainer, or an app to measure progress. For one of Zahab’s clients for example, part of her motivation is setting a goal of walking a 5K race in the coming year.

“In my 15 years of experience, slow and steady always wins the race,” Zahab says. “Ease into things and plan to stick to it for the long haul.”

Though fitness-related goals are certainly common New Year’s resolutions, there are other areas people may choose to focus on when setting goals.

For those whose aspirations are career-centered, Westboro resident Kevin Barwin, the general manager of Career Joy, says the important first step is analysis.

“Try to figure out what piece of your career isn’t work,” Barwin suggests. “Figure out what’s important to you.”

He suggests people ask themselves: “What do I love about my job and what do I not love about my job? It’s about the analysis at the beginning. What is actually wrong?”

He recommends taking a closer look at your talents, your lifestyle, and the type of work environment you want, and focusing on that.

The beginning of a new year may also provide an opportunity to refocus personal priorities.

In 2011, Wellington West’s Tracy Ouchterlony made good on a resolution to not by buying anything new for a year with the exception of food and hygiene products. While she admits there were temptations to cheat, she was able to stick with her project because she felt positive benefits right from the start.

“It was a stress reliever,” she said. As a new mom, she’d been overwhelmed by the pressure to buy every latest thing for her baby. Stepping away from all that was an immediate relief. “I replaced having stuff with actually doing stuff,” she says, which allowed her to “focus more on being and doing than on having and wanting.”

Whatever your goal for the coming year, Zahab recommends that the most important thing is to be find something you enjoy. “Don’t run if you hate to run. Discover a winter sport.  Vary things up.  Change your exercise routine. Get the family active,” she says. And most importantly: “Have fun.”

We asked Kitchissippi twitterati to tell us about their resolutions. Here’s what a few of them told us:

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