Resolutions take simple changes

Published 10:36 pm Thursday, December 31, 2009

Change is easy. Many people set goals and resolutions to accomplish in the new year. Making those goals a reality shouldn’t be a daunting task. Instead, Joe Diggins and Wayne Huinker said all it takes is minor adjustments and consistency.

Huinker, an employee at TJ’s Gym & Fitness Center, stressed it doesn’t take a major lifestyle shift to improve your health and feel better. Instead, he recommended people progressively make simple changes. Simple changes to eating habits combined with 20 minutes of exercise three to four days a week will yield positive results.

Diggins, 18, set goals to eat healthier foods along with a changed workout regime.

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“You don’t need to make a dramatic change,” said Diggins, who frequently lifts weights at TJ’s.

“I think that’s what would kill a New Year’s resolution,” Huinker added.

Diggins is training to compete in powerlifting, which is a type of weightlifting competition where people compete in the bench press, squat and dead weight.

Last year, Diggins set a goal for 2009 to squat 500 pounds. After meeting that goal, he’s expanded that goal to 600 pounds for 2010. Another part of his goal to kick off 2009 was to change his eating habits.

Diggins follows a routine of lifting weights four days a week and taking off weekends and Wednesdays. He splits those four days between days where he does heavy lifting and days where he does speed lifting.

“It becomes a lifestyle after a while. … You feel guilty if you miss a day,” Diggins said. “I missed a day last week, and I felt horrible.”

“When you have a goal in mind, you can’t really take a day off,” Diggins said.

Before changing his eating habits, Diggins said candy was one of his downfalls. Diggins replaced pop and candy with more lean meats and fruits. He still eats what he described as healthy carbohydrates like wheat pasta, but he now rarely eats fast food.

Since he changed his diet, Diggins said he’s lost about 40 pounds.

Such changes can be difficult over the holidays, as Diggins said it was difficult to turn down chocolate over Halloween and Christmas. The occasional Christmas is all right.

At the same time, cutting foods isn’t the only way to eat better. Eating in moderation is another key, Huinker said: “Instead of going to the buffet line two times, I only went once.”

“Just be careful what you eat,” Huinker said. “Moderation — try to cut down on the fatty foods. You don’t have to cut them out, just cut them back.”

Diggins felt the changes in eating habits in different aspects of his life. Diggins played center for the Austin High School football team, and he said he had more endurance.

“Once I changed my diet, everything started to get better,” Diggins said.

“Your attitude changes a lot, and you feel a lot better,” he added. “I haven’t felt this good in a long time, and I’m 18.”

One way to maintain a consistent regiment is to make changes with a partner. Huinker said people can push one another and keep each other honest.

However, patience is a key because it takes time to see the results of such changes, Huinker said.

“We didn’t put all on in a day, so it’s going to take more than a day to take it back off,” he said.

Another resolution trend

Along with changing eating habits and exercise plans, many people set New Year’s resolutions to improve their finances in the coming year.

Randy Kramer, certified financial planner with Ameriprise Financial subsidiary Davis, Thoen, Kramer & Associates, offered advice for financial stability in the new year.

Plan a written monthly budget to compare expenses and income to ensure you’re spending within your means.

Pay down non-mortgage debt as often and quickly as possible.

Maintain a rainy day fund and add to it each month to reduce unexpected credit card costs.

Save as much money as possible for long-term goals like retirement.

Review the risk you’re taking with investments and make sure to diversify investments.