JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. –
As the cheer of the holiday season starts to fade, many people begin reflecting on the past year, capitalizing on opportunities to improve various aspects of their lives with the New Year. While some people may have an idea of what new resolution to take on, others may be overwhelmed with where to begin. The first step to a completed resolution begins with one question:
"What's my New Year's resolution?"
If you haven't decided on one yet, fortunately there are a plethora of resources available to the Joint Base Langley-Eustis community to kick-start the most common resolutions and assist in seeing them through.
"I want to get in shape."
Many people resolve that with the New Year will come a smaller waist size and toned muscles. For some, transitioning from the couch to the treadmill can be a daunting task.
According to Anne Jennings, the Langley Health and Wellness Center's health fitness specialist, the path to shedding pounds is as simple as writing down a personal goal.
"It is your goal, and it needs to come from within," said Jennings. "When we see things that are our personal goals and not told to us, we are much more successful."
To help jumpstart those who may be looking to get back into an exercise routine, the HAWC offers "Step into Exercise" Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Shellbank fitness center. Along with the exercise class, Jennings says it's important to measure goal success by using resources at the HAWC such as the Bod Pod, which analyzes body fat between periods in an exercise routine.
Helping to create successful fitness regimens for Service members is a priority for the HAWC because a person's health can greatly impact the mission.
"We want to keep everybody in the state of wellness," said Jennings. "If there's someone who isn't fit, or is unwell or unhappy in any aspect of their life, you're dealing with a sort of half-person."
Jennings said people shouldn't be reluctant to start a workout routine if they've been unsuccessful in the past.
"Whenever we are achieving a goal, we always have setbacks," she said. "We have to be flexible and realistic with our goals. The resources are here, it's just up to individuals to take care of themselves."
"I need to start eating better."
For many of us, the holiday season is synonymous with overeating and indulging in delicious foods. According to Tracy Conder, the HAWC's health promotion dietician, a few days of slip-ups shouldn't dampen the desire to start the year off right.
"The sooner you get back on track, the better," said Conder. "If you eat more during the holiday, you're just maintaining your weight during that time. Consider those maintenance days, not failures."
To help get people back on track, Conder recommends starting with the HAWC's weight management class. Meeting in a group environment helps people to see their goals through, she said.
"I try to put the fun back into talking about food," said Conder. "It's not a formal class; it's where we get together with a common goal and become more of a support group."
The weight management class, "Better Body, Better Life," begins Jan. 22 from 9 to 11 a.m. and Jan. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. The five-week class covers nutrition, behavior changes and exercise information. Members who attend the class are able to get Conder's individual support through walk-in appointments, emails and online diet journals.
"It's not just the class they're getting, it's that long-term support without always having to come in and see me," said Conder. "Usually when you think of a diet, you think it's deprivation or starvation, but I'm about balancing it all in the right proportions. There isn't a favorite food someone has had that I haven't been able to put in their meal plan."
"I should quit smoking...again."
If the trend of a healthy lifestyle is on your mind for the New Year, you may also want to consider stopping the use of tobacco products through the HAWC's tobacco cessation program, offered every Wednesday from 12 to 1 p.m.
"We know when people change their behavior and their environment, they are successful in quitting tobacco," said Jennings, who also runs the tobacco cessation program. "The single-most important thing you can do for your health is to quit using tobacco. You've immediately reduced all of your risks for types of cancers, diseases and other health issues."
One hurdle people may face in stopping tobacco use is that other avenues haven't helped them before. Jennings says those attempts are part of the process and shouldn't deter someone from continuing the journey to quit.
"It can take an individual anywhere from seven to 10 times to finally quit - that is part of quitting," said Jennings. "If you've quit in the past, there was success there for that moment. We talk about the successes you've had instead of the failures."
"I need to get my finances in order."
Sometimes during the holidays we not only blow our diets, but also our budgets. The New Year is the perfect time to start getting finances in order, whether getting out of debt or working toward savings. The Airman and Family Readiness Center offers many programs to assist in achieving financial goals.
"We can provide a spending plan and you can complete it yourself, but it's beneficial to come in so we can help guide you," said Maureen Elam, AFRC personal finance manager. "You can provide as much or as little information as you want, you just have to know what the big picture is."
One way the AFRC helps assist members financially is being able to provide them with their free credit report and credit score. Elam said this helps members who may be reluctant to discuss their finances in-depth, yet still gives them an idea of how they stand financially.
For those who may have reservations with sharing personal finances with an outside source, Elam said she remains objective in discussing financial plans.
"We take everyone's situation very seriously and we are here to help - not judge," said Elam. "At one point in our lives, we've all been there. Money can have a drastic impact on your happiness at home and at work; we're here to help make sure you're getting the most out of what you make."
To assist in financial planning for the New Year, the AFRC will have many events during Military Saves Week, Feb. 25 through March 2, including workshops for saving and investing, newly married couples and Airmen moving out of the dormitories.
"I want to get more involved with my community."
If you find yourself looking for something more to do with your off-time, the AFRC has resources available on and off-base to find a volunteer program that appeals to your preference, from coaching a little league team to babysitting.
"Volunteering is the perfect way to feel like you're part of the community that you live in," said Michelle Venzke, AFRC volunteer resource program manager. "It's a great way to learn about the military, the new base you are stationed at and meet new people."
While volunteering offers many social benefits, Venzke said it also has professional opportunities and advantages for Service members and spouses.
"It's very beneficial professionally for performance reports and resumes, and can often lead to employment because you learn certain job skills," said Venzke. "For stay-at-home parents who want to volunteer on base, 30 hours of childcare a month are paid for by the Air Force Aid Society, so it's a great opportunity to get out of the house."
"I know my resolution - what's next?"
If you've decided which resolution will best improve aspects of your life, the next step is to take charge and seek the support you need to help achieve your goals. JBLE agencies are here to enhance your quality of life and resiliency to ensure you can effectively accomplish the mission. Enriching your life doesn't just have to come after the holidays, but there's no time like the present to have a better you - it's starts with a goal and ends with an energized soul.