YMCA suggests small steps to bigger picture when picking a New Year’s Resolution

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - It's that time of year to make a promise to yourself that you swear you'll keep -- hitting the gym seven days a week and cutting out all foods that are deemed unhealthy.

That may not be the right approach, though.  "You’ll burn out so fast," said Raye Carter, Membership Director for the Downtown YMCA.

The YMCA conducted a survey in 2014 which found that less than a quarter of people kept their resolutions.  Many tried, but ultimately fell short of their goals.

"You don't want to start big. Don't make any huge plans that you're not going to be able to keep in the future. Slowly introduce leafy greens, healthy fats and chicken, slowly wean out the beef," said Carter.

When looking to hit the gym Carter suggests setting milestones.

"Designate a specific day you know you have time to come in, even if it's on a weekend," said Carter. Those milestones eventually lead you to that bigger picture of a healthier lifestyle.

"If you take it slow, you're slowly going to wean yourself in to where it becomes a habit," said Carter. And don't get discouraged if you're not seeing the results you want immediately. It takes four to six weeks for you to see a change, and almost 16 to 20 for others to notice.

"Rome wasn't built in a day -- neither are your healthy habits," said Carter. “You're going to start feeling a difference in your body. Your energy level is going to start to spike, taking out the sodas and substituting with water. You're going to have the quality of life you've dreamed of."

And the best way to keep your resolution? "Have a buddy system, talk about your 2016 goals, come to classes, set up time with a personal trainer," said Carter.

Whether your goal is to work out more, spend more time with family or travel; it's all possible, one step at a time.

The YMCA is currently offering 25% off membership fees for all of 2016. There's no fee to join and you can use your membership at all three facilities: the Southeast Family Y, the Downtown Y and the Hogan Family Y in Madison. With your membership you also get a free wellness orientation to assist with setting wellness goals and achieving success.

For more information visit ymcahuntsville.org or drop by your local YMCA for a visit.