New year, new you. If it only it was that easy.
Living healthier, losing weight, exercising more, and eating better are popular New Year’s resolutions year after year but while many make resolutions, few are successful in attaining their goals.
Most people start strong, with studies indicating success rates in the 60 to 70 percent range after the first month but dropping significantly over time. Some studies indicate that less than 10 percent of those who make resolutions feel successful by the year’s end.
How can you beat the odds? There is no one-size-fits-all strategy, but local health and wellness professionals have some suggestions to increase your likeliness of success. And there is no better time to get started.
“This is definitely the time people start looking at bettering themselves in some sort of way – physically, spiritually, mentally, and even emotionally,” said Michelle Daniel, owner of The Lifestyle Technique.
A current assessment is essential before making an attainable resolution according to Karen Wonders, program director and sports science professor in Wright State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Health.
“Before setting any goals, be clear on where you are now,” Wonders said. “Sometimes we spend so much time wishing for things to be different that we fail to realize how far we have come in one area of our lives.”
The self-proclaimed new year’s resolution junkie also encourages people to be aware of their thought patterns.
“Sometimes we think things are true, but they aren’t, things like ‘I don’t have time to exercise’ or ‘I’ll never be in shape’ can really hold you back,” Wonders said.
Understanding your ultimate goals is also an important part of eventual success.
“Sometimes resolutions can put more pressure on us than necessary and living in a fast-paced world that is full of pressure to be doing things all the time can be a lot to manage” said Tori Reynolds, owner of Speakeasy Yoga. “Is there potential for the resolution to be establishing a routine that actually brings you more joy, less stress, and a sense of calm?”
Reynolds advocates for allowing space and time for “being” – not just constantly “doing.”
“With a routine that allows your nervous system to retreat from a state of fight or flight, perhaps your body and mind can find even healthier balance in 2023,” she said.
“A health journey doesn’t always come easy, but consistency, intentionality and planning can lead to a healthier and happier life,” Daniel said. “As you go through your journey, it will take some effort and time. This journey can also lead to a stronger mindset, confidence and pride in your hard work and ultimately your success.”
Daniel encourages her clients to shift their focus from implementing strict diets to making positive choices.
“Many want to focus on strict diets and weight loss, but I have found that this leads to so many quitting shortly after they begin,” she said. “I like to teach my clients to not focus on weight loss but instead focus on becoming healthier from the inside out, taking a holistic approach with the mind body and spirit.”
The aforementioned Wonders offers the following advice:
* Set goals and outline smaller steps to reach those goals. If you have a goal to run a half marathon, but can’t run a mile without stopping right now, plan out how you will work from one mile to 13 miles.
* Celebrate your victories. Celebrate every milestone along the way. Celebrate running 10 minutes without stopping. Celebrate two miles without stopping. Celebrate five miles without stopping. Take time to celebrate your wins along the way and that will keep you motivated throughout the journey.
* Prepare for barriers. Some people find it helpful to lay out their workout clothes the night before. Some find scheduling a workout into their day helpful. Some like to have a friend to workout with to hold them accountable. Find what works for you and stick to it.