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Resolve to Get Active
Written by December 29, 2008

Gina Cortese-Shipley, MS

Associate Director of Education
The Cooper Institute

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Resolve to Get Active

January 1st is fast approaching and you are probably thinking about your New Year’s resolutions.  The new year can be a good time to “wipe the slate clean” and get started on new, healthier habits.  And burning more calories through increased physical activity can be a good step toward better weight management as well as reduced health risks in 2009 and beyond.

To make your resolution stick, you need to do more than vow to “get more exercise.”  Research shows that to be successful with nearly any behavior change, you need to set realistic, specific, and measureable goals.  Goals  are statements that answer the questions, “Where do I want to go?” and “How am I going to get there?”.  The answer to first question becomes your long-term (one to three months) goal.  And the answer to the second question becomes your short-term (one week to one month) goal.  You will likely have more than one short-term goal for each long-term goal.  Below are examples of long-term and short-term goals.

Long-term Goal

  • “By the end of the next three months, I will have walked at least five days each week, for 30 minutes each time.  I will know that I have reached my goal by my physical activity calendar.”

Short-term Goals

  • “By the end of the month, I will have walked at least three days each week, for 10 minutes each time.  I will know that I have reached my goal by my physical activity calendar.”
  • “By Friday of this week, I will have walked at least twice (once on Monday and once on Friday), for alt least 5 minutes each time.  I will know that I have reached my goal by my physical activity calendar.”

But goal-setting is just one of many behavior change strategies.  Other strategies such as planning rewards, tracking your progress, getting support, and thinking through problems and barriers are also critical for adopting healthier habits.  You can learn these tools and other important information in the Stand Up & Eat “Get Active Program.”  The Get Active Program is a 12-week program designed to help people who are inactive start moving more.  Each week, you will receive an email message with information about a physical activity strategy.  Most weeks you will also get a worksheet that will help you put the strategy into action in your life.

There is no charge to join the Get Active Program and a new program is about to start in early January.  To sign up, click here to go to the Stand Up & Eat home page and look for the “Get Active” box on the right side of the page, about halfway down.


Let us know what are your active living or healthy eating resolutions for 2009 in the comments section below.

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