Popular Fitness New Year’s Resolutions – Will Yours Stick this Year?
New Year’s Day is traditionally the day for turning over a new leaf, whether you’re building upon your success or putting past defeats behind you. New Year’s resolutions are an international phenomenon, and the only thing more universal than the enthusiasm people have for making them is the fact that we’re completely and utterly rubbish at keeping them.
Back in 2007, Richard Wiseman conducted a New Year’s Resolution experiment that suggested that just 12% of people ever complete their resolutions. Worse still, barely half of them were confident of success in the first place. Here are some familiar fitness favourites that 88% of people will give up on this year, and some advice on how not be among them:
Exercising / Visiting the Gym More Often
Obviously, JTX are passionate about exercise, but we appreciate how it can be difficult to form habits. If it weren’t for New Year’s Resolutions, Gym memberships would take a significant hit: but how many annual memberships are never used after their first week? Here are typical reasons for quitting:
- Exercise resolutions are often among the most unrealistic – if you’re not a regular exerciser, pumping your Treadmill to its full 22 kph everyday for a week will do more harm than good;
- Other people often inspire us to exercise more, but how they go about that exercise may not ultimately appeal – find a method that works for you;
- Winter is the most de-motivational of the seasons – the cold, the wet and dark evenings are just three obvious obstacles;
- For many, the knowledge of past failings will hold them back most of all. Think positively.
The Christmas period tests our dietary resolve: we feel obliged to treat ourselves to prevent food wastage, and seasonal treats are at least less habit forming. This leads a lot of us to vow to eat more healthily in the New Year. We can fail because:
- It can be meaningless if all you’re doing is attempting to eat less immediately after a week of traditional excess;
- Losing weight is a very broad goal that includes many smaller changes to diet and exercise; it may be more productive to set a more specific target;
- We naturally gain more weight in the winter, and losing it can be challenging.
Drinking Less Alcohol
Drinking alcohol is almost as much a part of the Christmas period as calorie-heavy meals, so many of us resolve to drink less alcohol, or to cut it out of our lives completely. Nontheless, common reasons for failure include:
- Excessive drinking may be something you only do at Christmas;
- A serious dependency will not be broken by poorly planned resolutions;
- The pressure to drink tends to be greater in social occasions in winter-time.
The benefits for quitting smoking are well publicised, and if you’re a smoker with fitness objectives, it’s really the first habit you should cut out. Of course that’s easier said than done, and research in the past has suggested that the majority of smokers would like to quit. So why don’t they?
- The powers of addiction and withdrawal are considerable;
- Nicotine patches and gum help, but they’re often mistaken for outright ‘cures’;
- The beginning of the year is filled with other concerns (maybe even other resolutions) and quitting requires considerable focus.
How to Achieve your Goals
With the odds stacked against you, how do you make sure that you’re part of the 12%?
- Make only one resolution;
- Don’t repeat last year’s resolution;
- Consider making a mid-year resolution – habits are easier to form in Summer;
- Make it specific – say exactly what, where, how and when you’re going to do it;
- Tell people about your Resolution, and get them to support you;
- Check out our motivation page for some more tips that are useful all-year round.