Exercise Well: Tips for keeping those New Year’s resolutions

Having a clear sense of your goal will go a long way to helping you achieve it.

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Ready to “step it up” in 2020, but unsure of how to start making your resolutions? When it comes to exercising and getting on a healthy track, we’ve got you covered! In fact, I’m going to demonstrate exactly how coming up with your resolution can be like working toward an advanced yoga pose!

The Bird of Paradise yoga pose takes a lot of practice. First, you need to learn Warrior II. Then, you need to learn Extended Side Warrior. Then, you need to learn how to bind in Extended Side Warrior. Finally, you learn to balance and come up into Bird of Paradise. This is a step-by-step process that doesn’t come to fruition overnight!

Similarly, resolutions don’t either. It’s important to break down your resolution. Here’s how.

First, be clear on your goal.

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour in yoga pose Bird of Paradise.

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour in yoga pose Bird of Paradise.

Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Bird of Paradise is the goal in this scenario. Maybe your goal is to exercise more, eat healthier, or lose weight. However, those goals are too vague. I could’ve just said my goal was to learn yoga, but that’s not specific enough. Instead, my goal is to learn Bird of Paradise, which entails yoga. See the difference?

So if your goal is to exercise more, what does that look like to you? Does it mean you’d like to work out five times a week? Three times a week? Daily? Having a clear sense of your goal will go a long way to helping you achieve it.

Next, break it down into steps.

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour in yoga pose Warrior II, the first step in working towards Bird of Paradise.

Health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour in yoga pose Warrior II, the first step in working towards Bird of Paradise.

Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

To learn Bird of Paradise, I have to know where I’m starting, which is in Warrior II. Where do you have to start to exercise five times week? Do you need a gym membership, a yoga mat, workout shoes, workout clothes, or classes that you can sign up for? Make sure you set up your resolution for success by knowing where the starting point is.

After that, practice, practice, practice! I’m going to go into Warrior II and then Extended Side Angle for a few weeks before I start going for the bind. Similarly, prove to yourself and your body that you can exercise twice a week for the first two weeks. Then, after two weeks, increase to three times a week. Keep increasing until you reach your goal and stay there consistently!

Stephanie Mansour adds a bind to Extended Side Warrior, the third step in working towards Bird of Paradise.

Stephanie Mansour adds a bind to Extended Side Warrior, the third step in working towards Bird of Paradise.

Brian Ernst/Sun-Times

Just like learning Bird of Paradise or any other yoga pose, knowing the end goal and mapping out steps to get there will set the foundation for you to be successful in your health goals this year.

Stephanie Mansour is the host of “Step It Up with Steph” on American Public Television, airing locally on WTTW-Channel 11. She coaches private clients in weight loss, appears regularly on national TV shows, and offers afree 21 Day Challengeon herwebsite. She holds certifications in personal training, yoga, Pilates, and professional life coaching.Check out her fitness tips every Sunday in the Well section of the Chicago Sun-Times and her workout videos online atchicago.suntimes.com/exercise-well.

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