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Keep fit physically, financially this year

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- "New year, new you," is a pretty common theme this time of year as the calendar flips from December to January and people are filled with hope for what the coming year has to offer.

Each year 47 percent of Americans make a New Year's Resolution, according to research from the University of Scranton, most vowing to lose weight, eat better or save money. Unfortunately, that research also says only 8 percent will be successful in achieving their resolution.

By mid-January, 30 percent will have given up on their resolution and only 64 percent will be able to keep going into February.

So how can you keep resolutions going throughout the year, specifically those weight and money related resolutions? Here are some tips to help you stick with your exercise and financial goals this year.

Set a specific goal

"Setting goals, like losing 20 pounds in three months or being able to score at least a 90 on your Air Force Fitness Assessment, is a good way to help stick with a routine," said Seth Cannello, Schriever Fitness Center director.

Setting specific goals can also help keep you on track financially.

"Think about where you want to be next year, in five years, 20 years and retirement," said Elizabeth Archuleta, Schriever community readiness consultant. "Come up with a game plan on how to get there."

Archuleta said goals can be divided into short-term, intermediate and long-term. Short-term goals should be reached within the next year, intermediate goals are where you want to be in two to five years and long-terms goals are where you want to be after five years.

Find an accountability partner

Financially, this could be a spouse or financial advisor. Someone who can make sure you're sticking with your savings plan or not spending recklessly.

If you're trying to get in the habit of going to the gym regularly, finding a partner who already has a regular routine can be beneficial in making sure you stick to the plan.

"Having someone else with you makes you exercise harder and they will hold you more accountable," Cannello said. "It's easy to say, 'I don't want to go to the gym,' if it's just you, but telling someone else you don't want to go makes it a little harder."

Track your progress

"If you write down what you did for each workout, you will be able to see if you're making progress from week to week or month to month," said Mark Schuette, fitness center recreation assistant. "Don't expect to see changes after your first week of working out. You didn't get out of shape overnight, so don't expect to get into shape overnight."

It's difficult to maintain a financial goal without tracking spending. Archuleta said the best place to start is to determine your current disposable income.

"Create a spending plan, your income minus the sum of expenses and debt equals [disposable income]," she said. "The left over funds you have each month, allot that amount to savings [if that's your goal]."

Set benchmarks

Archuleta said many people automatically associate saving with retirement. Unfortunately, when an emergency arises, they then only have retirement accounts or have to take out a loan to cover the unexpected costs, setting them further back. She suggests establishing an emergency fund dedicated to covering expenses before getting into Thrift Savings Plans or retirement accounts.

"When people think of saving, many jump into long term such as TSP for retirement," she said. "The long-term investments are sabotaged every time money is taken from the account and when money is borrowed there are fewer funds available for monthly expenses and savings."

For fitness, Cannello suggests registering for a distance race mid-year. Knowing you need to train for the race can serve as extra motivation to keep hitting the gym, especially if there is a registration fee for the race.

Additionally, registering for the free monthly fitness events hosted by the fitness center can serve as a way to keep you on track. Especially if you set personal goals for each event, Cannello said.

"All force support squadron sponsored events are free, so what do you have to lose," he added.

Don't give up

The unexpected will happen, don't let a small slip lead to abandonment of your goal. Especially when it comes to saving money or working out, you can always start over if necessary.

"If an emergency arises and your funds are depleted, then start saving again," Archuleta said. "A quick way to get [an emergency fund] started is to have your tax return direct deposited in your savings account."

Similarly, just because you skipped a day or two at the gym doesn't mean you shouldn't go back.

"You will probably fall off the horse at some point," Schuette said. "Don't let that stop you from getting back on."

For more information, contact the fitness center at 567-6628 or the Airman and Family Readiness Center at 567-3920.