New Year Brings Resolutions -- and We'll Even Keep Some of Them
Making a resolution actually improves your odds of following through
A new year means plenty of people resolving to turn over a new leaf.
Three-quarters of all New Year's resolutions are the Big Three of healthy living: lose weight, quit smoking, and exercise. Tony Maloney manages the fitness center at IUPUI's National Institute for Fitness and Sport -- he says you can count on a surge of new memberships this week.
You can also count on people's resolve beginning to waver by February or March. That's why the center launches a 12-week "Biggest Loser"-style contest in February, to pull people past the dropout point. Members divide themselves into 15 teams. The team with the biggest improvement in body-fat percentage wins free memberships and other prizes.
The state health department’s tobacco-cessation office says calls to its toll-free quitline fluctuate with its ad campaigns, but director Miranda Spitznagle says the New Year always brings an increase in calls. She says it's important for smokers not to get discouraged if they try to quit and fail, but rather to use the experience to learn what works and doesn't work for them.
Maloney says the act of setting a goal through a resolution sets a tone. And he says people shouldn't try to fulfill their fitness goals alone. He recommends working with a professional to keep them on track, and finding a friend to work out with so that it's fun, not a chore.
A 1998 University of Scranton study backs him up. That study found just 19% of New Year's dieters stuck to it -- but that's 10 times the success rate of those who tried to lose weight without making a resolution.