Say what you will about folks who foresee the end of the world – at least they have a plan. It’s a lot more than most people can say about their own personal day of reckoning, usually taking the form of New Year’s resolutions.

Yes, we all have noble endeavors that seem to kick off on the first day of the new year, most of which revolve around health and wellness. But if you want to be successful with those plans, then you have to prepare in advance, and not expect your world to change at the stroke of midnight.

Here are four things you can do right now to make sure you hit the ground running in 2013.

1. Do a Test Run

Photo by Tom Trevino

If you plan to join a new gym, work with a trainer, or enroll in a series of specialty classes, do it now. But more importantly, visit and use your new commodity at least a couple of times before the new year to make sure it’s a good fit. If you’re at a new health club or studio, visit it during the times you normally plan to workout, explore the place from top to bottom so you know where everything is (from equipment to bathrooms and water fountains), and make sure they have everything you want and need (towels and soap in the shower area?). If you plan to hire a coach, trainer or nutritionist, make sure to meet with them in person once or twice before 2013 to make sure there’s good chemistry.

Also note that none of this should cost you a dime.

Most clubs offer a free pass for a day or week specifically so you can check the place out. Most trainers and coaches will likewise offer a complimentary session or two, or at least an initial consultation. Bottom line: kick the tires and take a test drive now, before you sign or commit yourself or any money to a new venture. The last thing you want to do is waste the first week or two of the new year frustrated and wondering if you made the right choice.

2. Think A Step Ahead

Totally awesome that you want to do a half marathon, bike tour, or triathlon next year. But are you really ready? Do you have all the gear you need, a specific training program, a place and time to ride, run or swim? While It’s great to be ambitious about the future, it’s even better to spend your energy now being proactive and collecting important information, gathering gear, and actually getting stuff done. Outline every step in the process between where you are and where you want to go, and think through everything it’s going to take to get from point A to point B.

Runner by Tom Trevino
Before agreeing to do that marathon, make sure you’ve got all the gear you’ll need. Photo by Tom Trevino.

If you make a conscious effort to do that, you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else who merely has an idea for what they ultimately want, but no plan of action. Heck, you may even have time left to request some of your needs as holiday gifts! And aside from spending the next week or two devising your plan and acquiring gear, make sure you test and try out everything thoroughly so that it’s as ready to go as you are on January 1st.

3. Take Out the Garbage

How can things so beautiful be so bad for you? Photo by Tom Trevino.

Chances are part of your 2013 plan involves improving your diet, for better aesthetics, performance, or general health. If that’s the case, then you probably have a lot of cleaning up to do. After all, it’s the holidays – a time when a slice of pie from your coworker seems like a reasonable breakfast, and drinking and feasting in excess are the norm. Problem is, your new Paleo-vegan-gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t look fondly on pie for breakfast. Or Pop Tarts for lunch. Or a gin and tonic and a bologna sandwich for dinner.

So if you do nothing else before the new year, do this: start ridding your house of any and all food that is counter to your success. Don’t bring home any processed foods from the store, don’t bring home any leftovers from parties, and if you make (or receive) special treats, donate them to a local soup kitchen or shelter, or any folks you see who may be in need.

When it comes to keeping your diet in order, your number one priority should be keeping your home and work environment as conducive to success as possible, and that’s a habit you want to start now.

4. Be Consistent

Photo by Tom Trevino

The best diet strategy or training program in the world will never work unless you’re consistent. That does not mean you have to spend countless hours in the gym, but it does mean that if you want to make progress and have measurable results in 2013, you have to be active more often than not, and eat well most of the time.

Some general guidelines: try 30 minutes of scheduled activity five to six days a week, and try to eat as perfectly as possible 70 to 90 percent of the time (depending on your needs and goals).

With that in mind, your priority at this point is to start looking at your schedule and finding the best times for your workouts in the coming year. In addition, make sure to take some time now to come up with simple strategies to ensure you stay on the righteous nutritional path, like cooking and preparing your meals in advance and having a few healthy go to snacks that you’ve tasted and tested in advance.

In the News

Looking for more health and wellness related articles to ponder? Here are a few suggestions:

Greece, dietary progression, and the growing obesity epidemic by By Jon Miller of Homelands Productions, PBS “The Rundown: A Blog of News and Insight”

Soft drinks for fat loss by David Lazarus, Los Angeles Times

Boys, Men and Body Image by Douglas Quenqua, The New York Times

Inspirational Video of the Moment

Regardless of the discipline, raw talent and athleticism are simply amazing to watch in action. Here’s one great example of that, and something that may just change your mind when determining what’s humanly possible when it comes to strength, balance, flexibility, and even rhythm. It doesn’t have to inspire you to dance per se, but hopefully it inspires you to push your limits just a little more.

YouTube video

Watch more incredible dancers, performers and “action sports” at

Tom Trevino is a writer, artist and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. This is the Rivard Report’s first installment of his column, The Feed, which will address health and fitness issues and dispense practical advice for San Antonians attempting to wade through the often-confusing diet and fitness world. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas, with training and certification from the Cooper Institute. He has a fondness for dogs, the New York Times, and anything on two wheels. When he’s not writing, training, or cooking, you can find him wandering the aisles of Central Market.

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. Contact her at