Every year, January 1st rolls around and countless people around the world resolve to make big changes, eliminate vices or break bad habits by making a New Year’s resolution or two. The most common New Year’s resolutions focus on health and wellness, with more than half (53 percent) aiming to eat better, lose weight or exercise more. That’s why towards the end of December, we hear a lot of “new year, new you” and all that. But do resolutions really work?
Making dramatic changes in beginning of the year is admirable, but we wondered if there are more effective ways to resolve to improve year-round, so we surveyed 800 Americans on their feelings toward New Year’s resolutions to find out. And, it turns out, most people don’t need a dramatic transformation in the new year to feel satisfied or accomplished. In fact, more than 72 percent said they’d prefer gradual, lasting improvements over being a “new you” in the new year.
That’s what 8fit’s all about this January: helping you turn your “resolution” into an “evolution.” In 2018, join us in starting a New Year’s evolution, so you can have health and happiness year-round. Making a few simple shifts in mindset could mean the difference between achieving your goals this year and re-making the resolution for 2019.success, and right back here making the same resolution for 2019.
While the majority (75 percent) agree that resolutions can help them get on the right track in the new year and build healthy habits as a result, 77 percent of those we asked also said that New Year’s isn’t the only time they try to reexamine their behavior and habits – they’re working 365 days a year to make sure they’re the best version of themselves.
If on December 31st, you resolve to get fit or be healthier, and that’s great. But those goals don’t provide clarity on how you’ll get there and when. The tendency is often to dive in head-first to a bunch of new behaviors (or leave some old bad behaviors in the dust) on day one. So, we join a gym and toss all the junk food in the house, resolving to be perfect from here on out. I think most of us know how this story ends…
… by starting small.
Instead of trying to change your life overnight, start the new year by thinking about how you can use each day as an opportunity to embrace a small challenge. Today, maybe your goal is to walk 10,000 steps. Tomorrow, do that, and start your day with a healthy breakfast. The next day, add on another new, but achievable, goal. Taking measurable steps toward clear goals can help ensure you don’t get burned out too quickly.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when we asked, “What is easier for you to accomplish: a big change for 2 weeks or a small change for 2 months?”, only 23 percent said, “Two weeks is good enough for me!”. If you’re like the other 77 percent, you’re more likely to stick with something if you’re making a small change instead of big one. Achieving your goals is that much sweeter when you didn’t have to completely sacrifice your way of life in the process. That’s why starting small and building from there can have huge impact, plus lasting success.
Don’t give up
Forty five percent of those we surveyed keep their resolutions for a maximum of one month. That mean by January 30th, lots of gym memberships are going unused and folks are back to old habits. But why?
Losing motivation is the key reason Americans fail at their New Year’s resolutions (38 percent), while one third of those we surveyed admit they make unrealistic goals. Here’s the good news: when asked, “If or when you slip up with your resolutions, do you give up entirely?”, 56 percent said no, they try to get back on the horse the next day or at the next opportunity.
We love that attitude. If you miss one day, it’s easy to think, “Man, I blew it today (or this week, or this year). Might as well call it.” But really, tomorrow is another opportunity to get back at it!
What makes New Year resolutions stick
We also asked what helps people stay with their resolutions, and 38 percent said having a partner to help keep them accountable is key to their success. Another 29 percent said making small changes that don’t drastically impact their daily life. So, in addition to making small goals, find a buddy to take this journey with you.
Another particularly useful tactic is to write down your goals for tomorrow at the end of every day. Articulating your goals (and remembering to make those goals small, measurable and take them one day at a time) can be instrumental to achieving them.
Time for a New Year’s evolution
Whether you’re aiming to slim down, tone up, gain muscle or just to feel more energized, aim to make small, actionable goals and take them one day at a time.
Regardless of your daily goals and the tactics you embrace to achieve them, by focusing on an evolution over a resolution, you’ll be creating habits that stick well past winter and enjoying the journey to a healthier, happier you. And we’ll take that over two weeks of January gym time any day.