If you’ve tried to find a parking space at your local gym or YMCA lately, you might have noticed that the parking lot is fuller than it was in the fall. The reason has nothing to do with the colder weather and has everything to do with the number of people who have made a New Year’s resolution to get fit. Have no fear, your favorite parking space will be free again in a couple of weeks when people realize that, once again, they aren’t going to keep their resolutions (studies show that fitness and weight loss resolutions usually only last one week before they are broken).
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that all those people who spent one, two or even three weeks faithfully going to the gym and found that they weren’t able to keep their resolution walk away feeling like failures. When you label yourself a failure, you believe that you can’t succeed, so you give up trying to change. Failures don’t have a good sense of self-worth and self-worth is key to making significant and lasting change.
Statistics show us that while 41 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 9 percent of us actually keep them. That’s a whopping 91 percent failure rate. If you’re one of those who are feeling like a failure right now, you’ve got plenty of company.
It’s sad to give up on making any significant change in your life after just one or two weeks.
The truth is that change can and should happen any time, not just Jan. 1. You aren’t going to wake up on New Year’s Day a completely different person. The person you were last night is the person you are today.
Here’s an idea: How about a new month resolution, a new week resolution or, even better, a new day resolution? Success in whatever field isn’t going to happen by making a change once a year.
Studies have shown that the average smoker has to quit seven times before it sticks (that’s an average, which means that there are many who quit a lot more than seven times). If you’re going to wait until the New Year to try to quit, it’s going to take you an average of seven years. Most people who have quit smoking haven’t quit on Jan. 1; they’ve quit when they realized that they don’t want to live this way anymore. That feeling can happen tomorrow.
Lasting change doesn’t come about because of a once-a-year “I feel good about myself because I made a resolution” piece of rhetoric. Real change is the result of falling down and getting back up again, time and time again. It’s hard work and it involves making choices that aren’t that fun to follow through on.
Each day is a new beginning and a new opportunity to change the things that you don’t like about yourself. You can fail today and try again tomorrow. Don’t wait until the New Year.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS