Every year, about 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Last year, three of the top 10 resolutions involved health and fitness, with the number one goal being to lose weight. Unfortunately, studies show that only 8% of those January hopefuls actually achieve their New Year’s goal.
Improving one’s health and fitness is an honorable resolution. After all, physical health almost always affects one’s well-being in all other areas of life. So, when faced with such an important objective, why do so many people fail?
Some behavioral experts believe that too many Americans strive for goals that are just too psychologically daunting. They make resolutions that are ambitious but unrealistic. For instance, someone who has never run a mile should not resolve to complete a marathon by the end of the year. Not only is this too physically challenging, it is mentally daunting, causing one to give up before they even begin.
Some people have an end goal in mind but don’t know how to reach it. They don’t put in the effort to find the most effective method of achieving their New Year’s resolution. Doing a little research to choose the right exercise regimen — one that has staying power — can go a long way toward achieving one’s goal.
“I hate exercising,” some people say. However, what they really mean is “I don’t enjoy the type of workout I have in mind.”
There are a number of ways to lose weight and improve overall health. Lifting weights at the gym and running on the treadmill are not the only exercises that work. In reality, adults need at least two and a half hours of aerobic activity each week. This can be any form of aerobic activity. Why limit oneself to a running machine?
Instead, experts recommend finding ways to be physically active without even realizing it. One great way to do this is to spend more time outdoors. Hiking, trail walking, rollerskating, biking or even wandering the city streets – all involve moderate exercise while keeping the mind and senses stimulated. In fact, 28% of Americans say that they cycle for exercise and/or health. For those who enjoy the water, swimming, kayaking, and waterskiing are all great options as well.
Playing organized sports with friends is another way to have fun while being physically active. One game of soccer involves walking, running, sprinting, and jumping, often for a full 90 minutes. It’s both social and competitive, so your mind will stay active, eliminating boredom and taking focus away from soreness or exhaustion. Basically, the trick is to find an enjoyable outdoor activity that keeps the body moving.
Even just setting a New Year’s resolution increases the chance of reaching your health and fitness goals; however, it’s the actual planning and mindful self-reflection that will make your resolution attainable.