2019 is my year of STRENGTH, or so I proudly proclaimed on December 31, 2018. Our nest is empty, work schedules are modified, and FINALLY, it’s time to add RESISTANCE TRAINING back into my healthy habits.
January 2, 2019: I blast into the gym, super pumped to sign up for some personal training sessions to re-introduce myself to weight machines after a decade-long hiatus. (Side note, friends, if we can treat ourselves to hair highlights or Starbucks, we can prioritize money to meet with dietitians or personal trainers- don’t be cheap on your health!) I try to be patient while the receptionist meticulously updates my data, boldly confessing I haven’t been in for years despite our monthly dues while she issues me a new parking sticker. I gamely smile for a new ID picture (perhaps makeup would have been a good idea), then brightly chirp “Where do I sign up for a personal trainer?” AND…everything came to a screeching HALT.
“Well, first step is to sign up for a time when our manager can call you to schedule an orientation meeting for you.” Um, what? In the past, they grabbed a clipboard and you signed up right there. (Okay, it’s been MANY years, but still!) “Also, you will need to fill out our medical release. If you answer yes to any single question, you will have to have your doctor fill out a release“. Seriously? I start scanning the multiple page document, mentally debating what I think is pertinent. On the second page is surgeries. “So even if you just had your appendix removed, that counts as a yes and I need a doctor’s release?” I ask incredulously. “Yes, sorry. But don’t worry, you can bring all this paperwork back with you when you have your orientation, and then we can pair you with the best trainer.”
As I did the calendar math in my head- first waiting a few days for the phone call, then scheduling time for an orientation, trying to book an appointment with my doctor and THEN finally getting to sign up for training…my enthusiasm swirled down the drain, and frankly, I trudged out holding my paperwork, completely deflated.
Was any of this out of line? Nope. The family doc in me is glad that the gym wants to be aware of possible limitations from chronic disease, injuries or surgeries. But it wasn’t what I expected based on prior experience, and I’m that “all in” personality that wants to get going right NOW once I decide on a pathway. Will I follow through with a trainer? Probably, but realistically that won’t happen for at least a month.
WHY am I sharing this? Because I want YOU to SUCCEED. This experience flooded me with extra empathy for every patient who has ever cried in my office over frustration with their diet or exercise plan. I recognize that I have minimal barriers to fitness, yet this simple procedural delay took the wind out of my sail. Whether the road block is “medical clearance paperwork” or having to step on a scale at a gym or put on work out clothes or do a fitness test, these hurdles are REAL, and I want to publicly acknowledge this and encourage other health providers to recognize this as well. What else would I suggest?
- Start with an easily achievable goal to set yourself up for success, then steadily raise the bar. Examples?
- Walk for 10 minutes, rather than starting with running a mile; sign up for a 5K before you shoot for a half-marathon.
- Have one vegetarian meal per week, or one dinner per week without that glass of wine.
- If you want to start personal training or meeting with a dietitian or join Weight Watchers, make the call and get it on your calendar, but start with other small changes in the meantime.
- If you “fail”, proclaim a “Do-Over” and use the next day or week to start! There is nothing truly special about Dec. 31st.
BOTTOM LINE: New year’s resolutions can be a great initial motivator, but set yourself up for success with a series of goals to keep that momentum flowing year-round!