Overcoming obstacles

Jamie Swyers teaches students how to keep motivated toward fitness goals

Students gathered in the LaHaye Aerobics Room to attend a Wellness Series meeting Nov. 10 as a part of the Live Healthy Liberty initiative.

Initiative — Students learned about the science behind behavior change.  Photo credit: Kallie Britton

Initiative — Students learned about the science behind behavior change. Photo credit: Kallie Britton

Students spent 45 minutes learning how to stay motivated to achieve their fitness goals and digging into the root of the goal they hope to attain. Handouts were distributed at the entrance that allowed the event to be interactive.

Students were given a worksheet to write down their goal, their current plan of action and the obstacles prohibiting them from achieving their goal. The session was led by Jamie Swyers, associate director at the LaHaye Student Union. Swyers said the Wellness Series has been going on since the fall of 2012.

“Participation has grown from 14 attendees in a semester to 220,” Swyers said. “We have had as many as 77 come to these events, and then sometimes we will have small groups, which is great. Either way is a good way to connect with people.”

Swyers said motivation is key in working toward a goal. When she talks to students about working through their obstacles, she finds examining the root of the motivation behind their goal is vital.

“Looking at the science of behavior change and the psychology behind motivation is really, really important,” Swyers said. “I think that is the missing link in a lot
of programs and plans.”

The Wellness Series is a program that is “near and dear” to Swyers’ heart due to the fact that she hopes to help others in their personal lives in a welcoming environment they can feel comfortable.

“The Wellness Series is a really important component of ‘Live Healthy Liberty’ because there are not always a lot of opportunities to speak with professionals on wellness and to ask questions in a free, no-pressure setting,” Swyers said.

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During the event, Swyers explained without a behavioral change or a break in a habit, people cannot fully dedicate themselves to reaching their goal.

“In my personal experience, I have given a client what I thought was the perfect program with a comprehensive step-by-step progression for them to achieve their goal, but if they were unable to maintain long-term behavior change, they were not successful,” Swyers said. “If I cannot help them change their behavior, I can do nothing for them.”

When trying to tackle a goal, self-talk phrases are crucial in keeping the work up. Swyers listed a number of illogical thoughts people have in life, including labeling themselves as failures and discounting the positives by ignoring their accomplishments.

Once a plan is set into motion, Swyers said being surrounded by a support system will help individuals reach their goal.

The fall 2015 Wellness Series season is wrapping up but will return for the spring semester.

“Our last Wellness Series event will be ‘Kettlebells 101’ on November 19,” Swyers said. “A personal trainer will be talking about using kettlebells safely and effectively. That will be the last for this semester’s Wellness Series.”

Swyers also said there will be a powerlifting meet Dec. 5. The event will be a competition including the deadlift, squat and bench press. The top three male and female lifters will be awarded prizes.

For more information on Liberty’s wellness initiative, visit liberty.edu/livehealthy.

COLEMAN is a news reporter.

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