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It’s a brand new year and the time when most of us review the year in past and set goals for our personal and professional lives. I often look at this as a time to recreate myself – to improve on things I need to and to challenge myself to be the best version of myself in the new year. When it comes to health, fitness and wellbeing, I hold the same approach. And the very first part is to recognise what is it that I can do better to feel fitter and healthier in the sustainable, long run. I ensure that I map my fitness goals to optimise my health and wellbeing.

However, for those of you who struggle with your health and exercise goals, I strongly suggest that you don’t set a goal just because its new year, you set a goal because you want to achieve it. This mindset shift is really important. You have to understand and want what you are about to commit to, otherwise it is just another meaningless thing that you will either never act upon or fallout from midway. You must have a clear understanding of why this goal is important to you.

Breaking your goal into short term and long term ones gives it clarity, accountability and better chance of success. Perhaps some of you don’t even know what you want to achieve, or do not have a clear picture about what you like and dislike about fitness; in this case you should either experiment – dive right into a program that you were considering, or get help and consult with a fitness expert.

Here are five things to think about and do:

• Group fitness classes were hugely successful in 2019 and I see this trend continuing as the energy of a group class makes your workout fun and friendly with just the right competitive spirit in the air. You can try kickboxing, mixed martial arts or opt for yoga or freestyle dance.

• Contemplating about getting a personal trainer; just go for it. It is a good investment because besides the technical expertise, your personal trainer will ensure that you stay motivated, push your limits and look out for your wellbeing. However make certain that your trainer is well qualified and compatible to your fitness needs.

• Workout at home. Many people struggle with hitting the gym either because they are too shy or intimidated, have a financial issue, or simply procrastinate. Working out at home can be flexible, manageable and offer you great results provided you are consistent and committed to your workout and do the right things.

• Aim for 10,000 steps a day. We are all meant to be active yet a majority of us do not even manage a thousand steps in a day. Long hours seated at work, commuting by car or bike, not walking around enough can be a real deal breaker for your health. Moving around, walking, running, staying active through the day has huge health benefits. Aiming for 10,000 steps a day should be mandatory; get yourself a fitness tracker or check your phone, it may already be doing it for you!

• All things in-between. What you do besides your workout routine is equally important to your health and wellbeing. Just exercising for an hour will not hold all the solutions to a stronger and fitter you. What you eat, do and think throughout the day are of equal importance. Your food should be regular, nourishing, fresh and well balanced. You should hydrate yourself with water and green teas. Sleep and rest are of paramount importance as is what you think and how much quiet time you spend in a day just for yourself.

Life is all about balance. We can’t really predict what will happen in the next moment but we can definitely ensure our response to it. When you are in harmony with yourself, you are better equipped to deal with all that life brings you, both good and bad. In the new year, I hope and wish that each one of you learns to make conscious choices and decisions that facilitate your health and wellness.

Sandesh Palungwa Limbu is a certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and also specialises in mixed martial arts. For answers to your fitness queries, write to him at ragefitness@live.com