It is the new year and we all know what that means — resolution time!

Much like most Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, I made my resolution to improve my physical health by working out.

Jesse Jones

I’ve never been a gym rat, but I’ve always tried to stay in shape. This year, I want to make sure I work out regularly.

A poll from Forbes Health asked 1,000 U.S. adults in October 2023 what their goals are for 2024. Nearly half (48 percent) of the people surveyed said they also wanted to improve fitness, 34 percent said they wanted to lose weight and 32 percent wanted to improve their diet.

It is safe to say that I want to accomplish all three goals, but I say that every year.

This year is different though — that is also what uttered by me every year. But this year is going to be different, I hope.

Why? You may ask.

Well, my wife called my bluff and bought us a personal rowing machine for Christmas and I was very happy she did. I really love to work out but I’ve gotten lazy as I got older. It’s harder to get motivated.

I used to enjoy going to the gym when I had a membership, but I always felt like I needed some guidance. I found myself doing the same exercises repeatedly, and it made me feel like I was missing something essential. However, I never asked anyone for help or hired a personal trainer.

As a teenager, running track and field was a big part of my life. Unfortunately, I blew out my knees, which made running especially difficult. Despite this setback, I found running continued to be an important component of my physical and mental well-being.

Not only is running great cardio, but it also improves mindfulness and overall health. However, I lost the motivation to continue.

Earlier this year, in the Valencia County News-Bulletin, we published a special section for senior citizens. I wrote an article about Tai Chi, which was a fun and informative experience. I even got to do some of the movements with the class. The research for the Tai Chi story reminded me how interconnected physical activity is to mental health.

Unsurprisingly, according to the Forbes Health article, a review of studies in 2023 found physical activity may help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, boost mood, and improve sleep quality.

Now I have the rowing machine, the sky is the limit — as long as I keep it up. Luckily, my wife inspires me to be the best version of myself. We’re both excited to get rowing and we try to make sure we both keep it up.

So far so good, and rowing seems to be good for my whole body and it does not put too much pressure on my knees.

In the same Forbes Health article, it was mentioned most people fail to keep their resolutions for more than four months. I hope to be an exception and keep up with my resolution for as long as possible.

The article highlights that only 1 percent of the people surveyed could maintain their New Year’s resolutions for a full year. However, it does provide useful tips to help individuals stay on track and keep sight of their goals.

The biggest thing the article recommends is not setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. Making short-term goals that are easier to achieve rather than unspecific long-term goals that seem unattainable.

A clear short-term goal would be to lose one pound each month, rather than a vague resolution such as, “I want to lose weight.” A measurable goal is usually a goal that will succeed.

I have never attempted this before, but now I have the opportunity to declare to the world — or at least to Valencia County — that my goal is to lose at least one pound every month for a year.

This goal is achievable and even if I cannot lose all the weight, I will still be in better health and may even live longer. It is a win-win.

I hope everyone who has set a goal for themselves this year will be able to achieve it. We should be supporting each other in our goals, whether it’s by working out together or providing words of encouragement.

Every little bit helps.

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.