"My New Year's Resolution list usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds."
- Actress Nia Vardalos
As we count down the final days and hours of 2014, many of us are carefully selecting our New Year’s resolutions for 2015. This annual ritual is deeply embedded in our culture. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50 percent of Americans make resolutions each New Year.
USA.gov lists the most common resolutions, and one thing is clear: health-centric resolutions dominate the list. “Lose weight” ranks first, and five of the top ten resolutions are health-related. New Year’s has been referred to as the “Black Friday” for the gym industry. As a result, January has 50 percent higher new gym memberships compared with an average month.
As much as we obsess over our New Year’s health resolutions, they are largely ineffective, and, much like a diet or fad, are not long-term solutions, not worthy of our investment, and can even set us back. So, let’s agree to end New Year’s resolutions and replace them with better, more effective ways to achieve our fitness goals.
Avoid Quick Failure
The University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology reported 92 percent of those who made New Year’s resolutions in 2014 failed. When it comes to fitness resolutions, endurance is staggeringly limited. Fitness Expert Ali Holman said, “The average fitness New Year’s resolution is surprisingly kept for a whopping eight days.” The New Year’s resolution is our collective annual experience acting as Charlie Brown as he prepares to kick the football held by Lucy, who pulls the ball away at the last moment, causing poor Charlie to fall on his butt.
Use Authentic Motivation
January 1st is a date on the calendar. It provides a mechanism to reset, but it is not necessarily the best time for everyone to make major lifestyle changes. If someone isn’t ready to make a change, it won’t happen. There’s so much going on in all our lives. What are the chances that we’re all ready to make a real commitment on the same day? Psychology Professor Timothy Pychyl of Carleton University contends that resolutions are a form of "cultural procrastination.” These are artificial, inefficient ways to motivate us that do not work. Only an authentic and deep motivation will drive real, lasting change… and that won’t be triggered by an arbitrary date. Don’t’ wait for New Year’s to make that commitment to change. Make self-improvement an ongoing process.
Set Tangible Goals
It’s intimidating to set a goal for an entire year. And when you do, you certainly feel the urge to make it a big one. It’s rare for us to set a New Year’s resolution that is actually reasonable… it has to be a big, hairy challenge that is life-changing. But does it? Dr. Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network says that setting unrealistic goals with resolutions is one cause of the high failure rate. Instead of declaring a resolution for a year, starting with smaller, short-term, measurable goals is a much more effective approach.
We'd love to hear from you. How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions for 2015? Comment below or on our Facebook page at facebook.com/flytefitness, or tweet us at @flytefitness.
Be Flyte Fit,
Co-Founder & CEO