If you’re hanging out with three of your best friends now, here’s some bad news: Research shows only one of you will achieve your New Year’s resolution this year.
According to a study published in December by the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions but almost three in four (73 percent) reported little or no success in achieving them. Losing weight was among the Top 10 most-reported resolutions.
Unfortunately, some people may fail in sticking with fitness resolutions because they don’t create goals that are S.M.A.R.T. – specific, measurable, attainable and realistic, and time-bound. It’s a little like getting into a car and saying, “I want to go somewhere.” With an unspecific goal like that, we might get “somewhere,” but it may not be any place meaningful.
A SMART goal would be: I will work out one hour, three times a week for the next three months. Why is it SMART?
S-M = It’s specific and measurable. We either worked out three times for an hour during the week or we didn’t.
A-R = It’s attainable and realistic for someone new to exercise. An unrealistic goal for a fitness “newbie” might be working out every day for two hours. That goal attempts to accomplish too much too soon.
T = It’s time-bound and says what we want to accomplish by when: three months. When we get to the end of three months, we can adjust our goal depending on our performance.
Other tips to help get us started and stay committed might include:
Negotiating January – Fitness clubs, personal trainers and even massage therapists offer freebies and perks in January to new clients. Potential clients need to know the right questions to ask and how to bargain to get some fitness bargains for the entire year.
Being Consistent, Not Perfect – Attempts to do too much too soon perfectly sets us up for failure.
Thinking 2% – Significant fitness results can be achieved with a four-day-a-week cardio and resistance training program, and it requires only 2 percent of your entire week. Keeping in mind what’s required can help us stay on track.
Finding Birds of a Feather – A new year is the perfect time to “inventory” the influences in our lives, including friends. Find people who want to get where you want to be and build a support system.
By the way, if you are, indeed, still hanging out with your three best friends now – politely excuse yourself so that you can get to the gym. After all, as Three Dog Night sang, "one is the loneliest number," and you want to be the one to reach your New Year’s goal this year.