New Year’s Resolutions…How Long Will Yours Last?
As I stepped into the gym for the first time in 2010, I was overwhelmed by the number of people that occupied the machines, the track and other equipment. I shouldn’t be surprised by this, since I have been a regular member of a gym and have worked at one for about the last seven years. I commend people for making physical activity a part of their new year’s resolution. I also hope to see these same people in the gym in a few months making physical activity a part of their lifestyle. Statistics show the average length of time a person sticks with their new year’s resolution is only about six weeks. In order to beat the statistic and stick to your resolution for a lifetime, there are several key things to remember and practice.
Find a strong and powerful motivator: The number one motivator of resolutions is weight loss. This motivator is not always the best because as soon as the scale is not reading what you desire your motivation may take a dip and can hurt your overall goal and success. So find the true reason that you want to adopt this resolution and use it as your daily motivator.
Make it a daily task, but allow for imperfection: If you make your resolution behavior a task that has to be accomplished everyday, similar to work tasks, brushing your teeth etc., it increases your chances of sticking with the behavior. At the same time, we are human, so allow for imperfection! There will be times when it is impossible to squeeze in a workout or practice your behavior. So prepare yourself for those times and create a strategy to work past them and not use them as a sign of failure or a reason to stop all together.
Set realistic goals: If you were not active before your resolution, it probably isn’t the best idea to make your resolution/goal to exercise seven days a week. This may be unrealistic and possibly lead to the path of failure. Therefore, set a goal using the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This way, you will increase your chances of success.
It is never too late to start a new healthy behavior. So even if you didn’t start January 1st, start today! Beat the statistic and adopt the behavior for a lifetime.
Andrea Masters is the Program Manager for the UT Office of Community Wellness and Health Promotion. She graduated from The University of Toledo with her Masters in Public Health and earned her B.S in Health Promotion from Bowling Green State University. Andrea has held several positions in the corporate fitness and wellness field over the years.
Andrea is a certified personal trainer and also trained in Wellcoaches®, indoor cycling, Pilates, and smoking cessation. Her interests include running with her dog, downhill skiing, and boating.
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