I am a freelance writer and wife of a guy who reminds me a lot of Ross Geller. We have two beautiful daughters, Hadley and Harper. We named them after the book To Kill A Mockingbird. (I wanted to name Hadley “Radley” but my husband thought that was going too far, so Hadley it is.) Visit me at my other blog, http://notesfromnaptime. blogspot.com

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Wait! Before You Make Those Resolutions…..

I didn’t take a poll, but I’m guessing that if you made some resolutions this year, fitness and health had something to do with one of them.  At least, that’s how it goes with me.

I have always enjoyed exercising, but I admit it isn’t always easy to get those gym clothes on and start a workout.  But I have this little trick: I tell myself all I have to do is get my workout clothes on and somehow that fools me into believing that’s really all I’m going to do.  Then before I know it, I’m in the middle of the workout and there’s no turning back then.

Now that I’m a mother, I am finding that exercise is vital for me to stay sane.  There’s something about jumping around to really loud music that makes dealing with “Hadley pushed me!” or, “Harper took my dinosaur!” much easier to deal with.

Still, knowing you’ll feel better, be healthier, fit into those jeans, etc., doesn’t make it easy to workout.  Especially with children, you can plan your day as much as possible, but things happen and a lot of times your plans for exercise can go by the wayside.

We belong to a gym with an excellent daycare, but our youngest daughter doesn’t seem to always share this same opinion.  A lot of times, I’ll bring the girls to the gym, and leave for my workout hearing her screaming.  Then I’m feeling miserable and worrying about her the whole time.  It’s not a productive use of time.

I also workout to DVDs – I particularly like The Firm DVDs, because they’re mostly interval training.  But now that my four year old isn’t taking naps, which is when I sometimes workout, I find that while I’m attempting a workout, I am also participating in a conversation.  It goes a little like this:

“What’s the girl’s name in the pink shirt, Mama? And why does she have a pink shirt on when everyone else has a blue one on?  Why aren’t you wearing a pink shirt?”

“Mama, she said to face this way and you’re facing the other way.”

“Mama, be careful.”

“Mama, can I try?”

So working out can turn out to be more of a chore than you might think it is to begin with.  Which makes trying to reach your fitness goals frustrating.  My advice is to set yourself up for success so that it doesn’t get overwhelming.

For example, I started really becoming interested in working out after I took the SELF Challenge in 2000.  The magazine had a worksheet that I wrote down all my workouts on after I completed them.  If I remember correctly, each month the number of workouts per week increased.  What I liked about this was writing down my accomplishments every day.  It’s something that’s become a habit for me.  Nobody else sees it, but I suppose I am celebrating my inner Monica by giving myself a star every time I complete a workout.

Since the daycare at my gym is hit or miss with my youngest girl, I plan on going to the gym at night after my husband gets home from work.  That way I don’t have to worry about how she is doing and I can focus only on myself and my workout.  It’s become a little retreat for me.  And on the days I don’t go to the gym,  and workout to DVDs instead, I make sure my oldest daughter is busy doing something so I won’t be interrupted.  I try and save computer games for this time because she loves playing them, and I know she will stay busy long enough for me to finish my workout.

Whatever your fitness resolutions for 2011 are, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do everything you hoped you accomplished.  Start small, make a list of your accomplishments, and you’ll be surprised at how much you were able to do.

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