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YMCA of Rapid City is now offering at Night Owl membership for people who want to work out later in the evening or early in the morning. 

The New Year's parties are over, and today's the day many adults will start tackling their New Year's resolutions to get in shape. Thanks to the YMCA of Rapid City and its new Night Owl membership, finding time to exercise just got easier. 

The YMCA launches its Night Owl membership today. It allows members to use the Randy Travis Wellness Center during the hours when the YMCA's main facility is closed. Night Owl hours are 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday overnight to Saturday, 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday overnight to Sunday, and 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday overnight to Monday.

"We're always getting requests to stay open later or open earlier," said Keiz Shultz, chief development officer for the YMCA. "In our community, we do have people who work different shifts, and our regular operating hours were not meeting our members' needs."

"We are a community gathering place that tries to fill all of the different needs of our community for our youth, kids and adults. For us, it's really helping our community with what their needs are," Shultz said.

The Night Owl membership is a new type of membership Shultz hopes will attract more people to use the YMCA. The membership costs $15 per month, plus a $25 joiners fee that includes an electronic key fob for building access. Those who are already YMCA members will have Night Owl hours included in their existing membership. The only additional cost for them is a $10 charge for an electronic key fob.

"Night Owl membership is very economical, so for people who've never had a Y membership but (Night Owl) access fits their needs, we're hoping they can become part of our community. We want to make sure we're providing every opportunity for people to stay healthy," Shultz said. 

How to start and keep New Year's fitness resolutions

Making time to exercise is one step toward becoming healthier in the new year. Setting SMART goals — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound — can help you determine exactly what you want to achieve, and how you'll do it. Nicole Craig, wellness director at the YMCA of Rapid City, offered practical tips for successfully accomplishing exercise and weight loss goals.

Specific. Define what you want to accomplish. Being specific about your goal gives you something to clearly focus on, Craig said. "If you say your goal is to lose weight and get in shape ... do you have a certain amount of weight you want to lift, or a certain distance you want to run?" she said.  

Measurable. Log your progress in a fitness journal or an app on your phone. "I absolutely love my FitBit. If I set a goal of 10,000 steps a day, I like to see (whether) I hit that goal," Craig said. "If you're gadget oriented, get a gadget. Track everything; it makes it more fun when you hit that goal."

Achievable. Trying to do too much too fast, or setting impractical goals, will leave you frustrated. "If you're not hitting your goal, maybe the goal is not realistic," Craig said. "Realize that success is not going to happen overnight. It is impossible to lose 20 pounds in two weeks for your sister's wedding." 

Relevant. Set positive fitness goals, as opposed to starting an exercise program because you hate the way you look. Positive goals — and positive people around you who will encourage you — will motivate you to keep going. "Find a buddy, or tell someone (your goal), whether it's a person on social media, or you tell your best friend," Craig said. "If you say it or write it down and have it in some place you'll see it, that's going to hold you accountable."

Posting a fitness goal on social media might seem daunting but could have a big impact. "If you post (your goal) on social media, then you're not telling one person; you're telling (hundreds). Somebody else could be looking at your goal and you could be a motivator," Craig said.

Time-bound. The timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic. Give yourself enough time, such as two months to lose five pounds. Make note of smaller goals you achieve, such as consistently exercising twice a week. "Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps," Craig said. "It's not going to be easy, but it's not going to be as hard as you think, either."

Anticipate setbacks, but don't get discouraged. "Realize that nobody's perfect. There are going to be some fall-backs and slip-ups. Accept those and continue to move forward," Craig said. "If you have a burger one day because you're out and about, don't let that turn into pizza for dinner. Accept it and get right back on track."

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