Here we are, two weeks into 2012, and Jan. 1 is getting ever more distant in the rear-view mirror.
How are those New Year's resolutions going?
If you already have organized the garage, learned Mandarin, lost 10 pounds and are about to launch a plan to save some exotic species, I salute you.
And I fear you.
If you have not greeted the new year with a new you, as so many advertisements for weight loss products keep advising us, well, we have something in common.
Perhaps your only resolution is never to make resolutions. But if you're feeling vaguely disappointed that you haven't started 2012 quite as you'd planned, I hope you'll find today's Personal Best helpful.
For some of us, a simple flip of the calendar from December to January just isn't enough inspiration to embark on even the most worthwhile change.
Fact is, you're the only one who can determine what will motivate you to act on your resolutions.
Maybe the prospect of feeling less anxious and depressed will motivate you to get in better physical shape. It has worked for some patients of Tampa clinical psychologist Gina Midyett, featured on our cover today.
Dr. Asher Gorelik, director of medical services for BayCare Behavioral Health, and Dr. F. Andrew Kozel, director of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program at USF Health, are firm believers in this brand of physical therapy, too, and offer insights into exactly how exercise affects the mind and mood.
Regular columnist Lavinia Rodriguez, a psychologist in private practice in Tampa, writes on about roadblocks people put up in the way of their own success. She's specifically addressing exercise, but what she says could be applied to other resolutions, too.
For a long time, I went to the gym every now and then with the vague idea that I needed to shape up. Then I got serious.
My motivation? Pain.
I was going to a chiropractor because my back hurt. Then my insurer declared it no longer would pay for the treatments.
What, I whined, do I do now?
Do yoga. Lift weights, the doctor advised. Strengthen your core. It'll help.
Why, I asked, didn't she tell me that in the first place?
Because nobody ever listens when she tells them to exercise, she told me. Everybody just wants fast relief.
Good point. Who listens to a doctor tell them to exercise when they're in pain?
But I gave in and called a trainer, who showed me that I could push myself a lot farther than I thought without injury.
I do not have Michelle Obama's arms or Jennifer Aniston's abs, but my back hurts only rarely, and that's motivation enough.
Along the way, a few other interesting things happened. I no longer needed my asthma inhaler. My weight stabilized. (Though if serious weight loss is your resolution, know that exercise alone won't do it.)
And although nobody has ever accused me of being serene, I have noticed that on the days I work out, I don't get so worked up.
So instead of regretting the last two weeks, think about what you really want and what will motivate you to get it.
And don't sweat the New Year's thing. Inspiration can strike any day of the year.