It’s that time of the year again, New Years Resolutions. Many people use the beginning of a new year to set goals for themselves. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make is to work out more, lose weight, and be healthier overall. Although working out and being healthier is a great New Year’s resolution, it is important to go about this in a safe and healthy manner. It’s easy to overdo it when adding new or additional exercises. Here are a few tips so you don’t end up very sore, or with an overuse injury such as tendonitis or a muscle strain.

First off it’s a good idea to check with your doctor.  If you are not a very active person or have any health issues, it is important to get a physical before beginning any new exercise program.

Don’t keep your resolution a secret.  Ask a friend to join you in your workouts. You will be more likely to go to the gym, or even for a walk, if you make a commitment with a friend. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support you as you improve your health.

Don’t underestimate the importance of warming up and cooling down. Spend at least 5 minutes at the beginning and end of the workout warming up or cooling down your muscles. This helps decrease your chance of a muscle strain or from being very sore later on.

Write down your goals and outline your plan. If your goals are written down in a place where you can see them it will serve as a good reminder to help you stick with it. Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip the gym or have that piece of cake. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” choice will affect your goal.

Remember change takes time, don’t over do it too soon. If you are doing resistance or weight exercises, start with a lighter weight and do 2 or 3 sets of 10. Stick with this for a few weeks then slowly increase the weights by only one pound increments. If your goal is to walk or run 3 miles, start with half a mile and slowly increase the distance by half a mile every few weeks.

Realize that setbacks may happen.  If you have a week where you don’t exercise as much or don’t eat as healthy, don’t let it throw you off the track. Look at the next week as another new start for your healthy habits. Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient!

Reward yourself, this doesn’t mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates if your resolution is to eat better. When thinking about goals at the beginning of the year, also think about potential rewards for yourself when you meet them. Whether it is a new pair of shoes or something bigger, you will have more motivation to work towards achieving your goals.

Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions. Good health impacts our ability to thrive in the workplace, attend to family obligations, and most importantly feel good about ourselves. Creating goals for yourself is a meaningful way to improve your health and quality of life!

Hoobchaak, Liz. “Sticking With Your New Year’s Resolution.” Athletico. N.p., 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.