How to have a happy (and healthy) new year

In the early days of 2015, take time to answer a few questions to help make this year one of your best.

A plan is essential for success

Happy New Year, Chilliwack!  The start of the new year is a time when many reflect on the past, assess their current situation, and look forward to the upcoming year.  Many people will set goals, or new year resolutions to improve some aspect of their life.

The most common new year resolutions are health related. Quitting smoking, losing weight and starting an exercise program are consistently the top few goals for a new year.

Whether or not you choose to call your commitment a new year resolution, January is a fine time to set goals.  In the early days of 2015, take time to answer a few questions to help make this year one of your best.

• Where was I last year?

Review the last year.  What were your successes?  What were your challenges?  The new year is not a reset button; it’s a continuation from the years past.  Take time to celebrate your successes and to acknowledge the areas where you struggled.  Positive and negative experiences shape who you are and you can learn from both.

• Where am I right now?

Remember that the only person you can work on is the person you are right now.  It makes no difference if you think you should be further ahead than you are now (in fitness, or other avenues).  What matters is where you actually are at present.  Do not be discouraged by the difference between where you are and where you think you should be.

• Where do I want to be?

Think about what you can achieve in the next year.  Perhaps you would like to incorporate exercise regularly into your week, express gratitude daily, practice mindful eating, read a book a month, or take a photography class.  Pick goals that excite you.

• Why is that important to me?

Perhaps the reason many resolutions fail is that many people use the start of a new year as their motivation for change.  A calendar date is not a compelling why.  Without a compelling why, overcoming obstacles is nearly impossible.  Instead, dig deep into your emotions to determine why you want to reach a certain goal.  Write down your reasons and read them daily to ensure you stay committed to your goal.

• How will you get there?

A plan is essential for success.  For example, saying you will lose 10 pounds is not enough to be successful.  Instead, create a plan to achieve your goal.  Your plan should include short term achievable markers of success.  An example for improving your eating habits would be to keep a food journal, cut out simple carbohydrates, and see a fitness coach to keep you accountable.

As we start 2015, take some time to review and reflect, and plan for 2015.

Happy New Year!

Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to

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