New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for exercise and healthy habits

Posted at 11:01 AM, Dec 24, 2019

The New Year is right around the corner so we went to the experts when it comes to setting goals for exercise and healthy habits.

Todd Buckingham, Ph.D., Lead Exercise Physiologist with Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation joined us in studio to offer some tips for people with different levels of experience.


Start. That’s it. The hardest part is starting so just getting out the door. It doesn’t have to be on January 1st either. Today is as good a day to start as any! On average, it takes about 2 months for a habit to form, so don’t get discouraged if you’re not making progress or you find the going is tough to begin with. And start slow, even doing something for 10 minutes is beneficial. A review of the scientific literature recently determined that ANY amount of running is associated with a 27% lower risk of death from all causes, a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, and a 23% lower risk of dying from cancer. So you don’t have to jump all in on a training plan and start exercising 5 hours every week. Just 10 minutes a day has been shown to provide a host of benefits.


Having trouble finding motivation to exercise in the cold, dark, winter months in Michigan? Find a friend! Exercising with another person can make it more enjoyable and increase your chances of sticking with your exercise plans. And even if you can’t physically exercise together, having someone who gives you the emotional support to keep exercising has been shown to be just as effective.


If you’re a serious athlete and have lofty goals, personalized training can help you optimize your performance. Not every day needs to be pushing yourself as hard as you can. In fact, most high-level athletes train too hard too often. Having specific training zones and a plan to get you closer to your goal is going to be important along the way. The more advanced you get, the harder it is to see big improvements in your time. If you’re going from not exercising at all to suddenly exercising for an hour each day, you’re going to see big gains in your performance. However, if you’ve already been training 10 hours/week and don’t have any more time to devote to training, you have to get smarter about the way you train. The Performance Lab at Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation can provide insights to your personal physiology and what is the best way to help you achieve your goals.

Set SMART goals. Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-oriented. Having these 5 qualities in a goal increases the likelihood of achieving said goal by 33%