Searching for the right commitment to make to yourself, your body and your future in the coming year? The Scout Handbook and countless merit badges are full of perfect New Year’s resolution inspiration.
That’s why we took a look at the Personal Fitness merit badge to inspire six goals attainable for Scouts and adults who want to pay special attention to their health in 2023.
1. Get a physical
As soon as Scouts delve into the Personal Fitness merit badge, they’re tasked with heading to their doctors to have routine wellness exams. As requirement 1a suggests, this is a great place to start for both Scouts tackling the rigors of a physically demanding merit badge and adults who are committed to starting or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
2. Go to the dentist
It’s simple. It should be routine. But we know there are adults out there who skip heading the dentist twice a year.
Requirement 1b of the Physical Fitness merit badge asks Scouts to reflect on how they care for their teeth. And 2023 seems like a great year for you to do the same.
3. Walk or run a mile
Do it at regular intervals and map the time it takes you to complete the mile each time you tackle it. This is advice taken from page 48 of the merit badge pamphlet.
4. Conduct your own strength test
Requirement 6a asks Scouts to test their strength and fitness in a variety of ways, record it and reflect on where they can improve. We’re including an excerpt on how to conduct a strength test below. Use this to set your own goals for the year (and to formulate your longer-term fitness plan. More on that up next!).
You must do the sit-ups exercise and one other (either push-ups or pull-ups). You may also do all three for extra experience and benefit. (Measurements should be in numbers and repetitions.)
- Sit-ups — Record the number of sit-ups done correctly in 60 seconds …
- Pull-ups — Record the total number of pull-ups completed correctly in 60 seconds …
- Push-ups — Record the total number of push-ups completed correctly in 60 seconds …
Remember, you can make this test your own. If you need to use 30-second increments, that’s OK. If you’d rather do crunches than sit-ups, go for it. If you’re using this as a New Year’s resolution, you’re working to improve your 2023, not earn a merit badge.
5. Create a physical fitness plan (and do it!)
In requirements 7 and 8, the Personal Fitness merit badge asks Scouts to create a 12-week fitness plan that includes the following elements in each workout day:
- Aerobic exercises
- Strength exercises
- Flexibility exercises
For you, this could look like blocking out 30-60 minutes on your calendar, three or more days a week. On each of theses days, you might walk half a mile, jog a mile, do 20 push-ups, stretch for five minutes and walk another half mile.
The exercises, durations, distances and repetitions are up to you. The goal is to commit to a fitness plan on paper. Execute it. And revise your plan as you’re able to do more.
6. Read this excerpt from the “Emotional Fitness” section of the Personal Fitness merit badge and put it to work
Also key in the Personal Fitness merit badge is mental health. Along with encouraging Scouts to seek help if they feel overwhelmed, the badge aims to get young people taking steps to cultivate a healthy family life.
Are you able to implement the below action into your own family? Truly, it’s easier for an adult in a family to accomplish this than it is for many youth.
Help plan family outings and activities. Spend quality time with your brothers, sisters, and parents. “Quality time” means sharing through communication and joint activity. If you talk about common interests, work together on a family project, plan for a special occasion, share a pleasant or meaningful experience, or play together, you are getting and giving healthy benefits through your family activity. Your family can be your most important possession.
Keep yourself physically strong and mentally awake
However you tailor your New Year’s resolution, don’t be afraid to focus on becoming the best you possible! While a physical fitness goal can pay dividends toward your mental health, maybe your goal is to start with your internal wellness before hitting the gym.
And speaking of gyms, we’ve heard they’re packed at the first of the year as many take on resolutions to spend more time exercising in a new year. The benefit of borrowing from the Personal Fitness merit badge? You never have to set foot in a gym to accomplish your fitness plan.
If you are taking on a mental or physical wellness goal for 2023, let us know what it is in the comments! If you’re taking on the fitness plan outlined above, what does your plan look like? Please share, as your plan will likely inspire others!