#360fit: How to make your New Year’s resolution stick

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We get it. The New Year is all about new beginnings, a fresh start, the chance to hit the “reset” button after a season of eating, drinking, and being merry.

The thing is that, although the number one resolution people make is health and fitness related, only 60% maintain their resolution past the first month alone?

– #Quiz360: WIN dinner for 2 at Channels, Media Rotana

– #360fit: The Dummy’s Guide to reading food labels

The main reason for this is that people often try to make dramatic, unrealistic, changes in their lives and can unknowingly put a lot of pressure on themselves to achieve them.

Too much pressure can actually become an obstacle rather than a journey to success. If you try to do too much, in too little time, with unrealistic expectations then you are prone to reverting back to old habits because it all seems 'too hard'.

Well, it certainly isn't easy, however there are some simple tips that can make the difference between success or failure.

Break it down

If your New Year's resolution is one of weight loss, for example, in order to be successful and not overwhelm yourself with too much pressure, break your goal down into smaller, more specific positive changes.

Think about what one change you could implement from the start of each new week or month so that the change is not so dramatic. For example in the first week of January you may start by simply getting out and finding a new activity that you enjoy. 

Week two could be about making time in your daily routine for regular exercise, and in the third week you might start filling your cupboards with healthier food choices.

In this way, breaking your goal down into smaller goals will not be such a shock to your mind and body, and allows you time to adjust to the lifestyle change. You can try a similar approach no matter what your goals are.

If you slip up – it’s okay

If you've found in the past that the thing holding your success back is "falling off the wagon" often, mastering these slip ups in your desired routine is the number one thing you can do to minimize the impact of stepping outside your routine.

What this means is that you become comfortable with the fact that sometimes you will slip up. This happens to everyone. None of us are perfect, especially when it comes to training and eating habits, and eating half a brownie or missing training two days in a row isn't a big sin that immediately erases the effect of your previous successes.

Planning is the name of the game

Will your approach to achieving your goals lead to short-term or long-term results? Make sure you PLAN for your success: schedule training into your day and make it a priority. Commit to a class, arrange to meet a friend, leave your gym clothes out the night before, make a bet if you must – there are many ways to keep yourself on track, just don't leave it to chance.

Here’s the thing:

  • Willpower alone won't work for long-term success, this requires planning, discipline and daily motivation
  • Diets don't work – don't waste your time on making changes to your dietary plan that are not realistic and you can't maintain
  • Motivation does not magically happen – you have to find what will drive you daily

The key to success is to make positive changes to your daily routine, both training and diet-wise, that you are able to maintain over time and that will eventually turn into habit. It almost sounds like a cliche now, but it's true: it's about lifestyle!

First of all, find an activity that you enjoy doing – if you enjoy the kind of training you're doing it certainly makes it that little bit easier and helps keep you motivated!

Check out the FitnessLink directory for what's available in your area. If you're not sure what works for you; try a couple of different activities to see what's right.

Also, seek professional advice about what kind of training is most appropriate and effective for what you want to achieve.

The takeaway? Don't focus on making resolutions. Make 2015 the time for a new you 'evolution', and make it stick.

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Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Are you ready for a change?

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New year, new you.

It’s that time of year again when most of us feel inspired to make positive changes to our lives and start the New Year afresh, but many of us will be unsuccessful for any length of time.

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– Lifestyler with Josie McKenlay: Virtual Health & Fitness

The main reason for this is lack of planning. We decide that we want to change something about our lives, but fail to do what is necessary to implement it or even consider whether or not we are truly ready, willing or committed to make the idea a reality.

For example, I often have very short relationships with clients who want to lose weight, get fit, improve their diet or relieve back pain, but simply aren’t ready or willing to make the necessary changes to their lives.

Throughout January I am devoting my Lifestyler column to helping you draw up a plan that will help you succeed and reach your health and fitness goals for 2015. This week consists of a questionnaire that will help you see if you are able to make the important changes to your lifestyle to ensure success.

1. Can you accept responsibility for the way your body is today and understand that, while your old habits don’t make you a bad person, they still need to be changed? It is important to understand your lifestyle choices made you fat, unfit and unhealthy – it didn’t just happen.

2. If someone told you that you’d need to throw away all the foods in your cupboards today and go shopping for different foods that are more appropriate to your goal, would you do it? One of my most successful relationships with a client was when I told her she should go straight home and throw away all crisps, biscuits, cakes and sodas.

She did it that very day and transformed not just her health but that of her family too.

3. If an expert presents some information on diet and exercise that contradicts what you currently believe, can you have an open mind and at least try it for a long enough period to see results? I hear the most fantastic miracle quick fixes in my classes, but when I suggest the simple formula of healthy diet and moderate exercise for the rest of their lives, it’s not nearly so interesting or believable.

4. If a friend or loved one suggests that you don’t have what it takes to get into great shape because you’ve failed before or for some other reason, what will be your response? It’s vital that you understand people’s motives for such comments: quite often it’s because your good intentions bring them face to face with their own bad habits.

5. Are you ready to spend less time with people who offer little or no social support for your goals while spending more time with those who do offer support? Necessary if they are like those mentioned in 4.

6. Are you willing to wake up in the morning a bit earlier and stay up at night a bit later to accomplish your goals?

7. Are you willing to slowly work up to five hours of physical activity each week?

8. Are you willing to take the time to draw up a 12 month plan rather than think in the short term? That’s what my January column is all about.

Next time: Fail to plan, plan to fail

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Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana a fitness factory

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Reach out: They’ve got a healthy rotation of fitness classes.

One of the top items on everyone’s New Year’s Resolutions list is always about getting one’s fitness back on track, particularly after a season of festive indulgence, and many will be looking into health club memberships now more than ever.

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One all-inclusive destination in Abu Dhabi we had the pleasure of checking out in our search is The Beach Club at the wellness-centric Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan by Rotana.

This hotel places strong emphasis on quality healthy living and an active lifestyle. Not only is it a dry hotel, but there are very few smoking areas across its expansive indoor and outdoor sport and relaxation facilities, and the restaurants are even slowly introducing calorie-measured meals among their generally health-conscious, scrumptious treats and eats.

It is the hotel of choice for the thousands of triathletes flying in each year for the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, and just generally a great, safe place a stone’s throw away in which to wisely spend your days off with the family.

To be a member here means to be spoiled for choice – from spa deals and steals to inventive food, stunning secluded spots for a splash and a lounge…and plenty of opportunity to keep the kids engaged and busy too while you get down to business exercising or exercising your right to be a little bit lazy.

Rotana’s chain of spas tend to be very popular locally, and here is no different. A small but quality menu offers every opportunity to relax and rejuvenate, from reflexology and de-stress sports massages to rose facials. And yet they are expanding its facilities for Spring. Expect great things from the new and improved offerings.

They’ve also got a healthy rotation of fitness classes we’re incredibly keen to take advantage of this year, from active as well as meditative yoga and popular Mat and Reformer Pilates, to a revival of classic hits like Tae Bo – the famous full-body-training, choreographed punch-and-kick routine; and Aqua Aerobics, popular with the less mobile, the elderly and those recovering from injury.

These join iCycling – using special stationary bikes with a weighted flywheel; Cardio Boxing and Boxing Circuit; and Power Toning, if in want of a leaner, meaner physique, incorporating the use of bars and various sized weights.

Those keeping up with exercise trends or looking to up the ante will be pleased to note that they also recently introduced Beach CrossFit – a principal strength and conditioning programme focused on constantly varied, high intensity, functional movement. And with all this great winter weather we’re having and it taking place in their serene outdoors, instead of the usual uninspiring CrossFit box, it’s the must-try workout of the season.

Prices for these for non-members range from as little as Dh45-60, making them some of the cheapest in town, and it’s much cheaper for club members too of course. Packages are also offered.

On top of that, one-on-one and group personal training are a great way to help you see your goals through in 2015, and they’ve got a number of private well-equipped studios, as well as all the bells and whistles in the main gym space, to aid you.

Squash is a highlight attraction at this club too. An exhaustive, explosive adrenaline rush in close quarters and a chance to both develop speed and hand-eye coordination, squash is a great choice to just blow off steam and burn serious calories too.

Dive in: The Beach Club’s temperature controlled pool is one of the biggest in the region.

Their two tennis courts outdoors also offer programmes for young and old, ages three and up; whether you’re looking for a social knock or to take your or your child’s game to the next level, Lead Right Tennis Academy, who operate at Khalidiya Palace, will sort you out.

Most of all, this is the ideal spot for fans of hitting the water, pool or beach. Their temperature controlled outdoor pool is one of the biggest in the region, and calming even just to look at.

This is where children and adults can score swimming lessons, from beginner to improver – they’ve got a great coach! And even if there are kids splashing about, this large pool has so many secluded pockets and areas to escape the noise so that you don’t notice.

Boasting 200 metres of sandy beach sweeping around a peaceful lagoon, Khalidiya Palace Rayhaan does well to stay central and yet make guests feel like they’re far removed from the hustle and bustle.

You can rent jet skis at one far end but they’re not allowed along their main beachfront, which is thoughtful. Other motorised and non-motorised marine activities, including kayaking and stand up paddleboarding, are available for hire too.

Our visit revealed that Khalidiya Palace shows no signs of slowing down with their services in 2015, and we’re excited to see everything unfold; if you want to be healthy and still have fun, this is the place to do it.

Contact: 02 657 0000 or via [email protected]

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