Motivation and time management will be key for those who resolved to work out more this year, but some fitness trainers say New Year’s resolutions may not be the key to healthiness anyway.
“To be honest, I think they’re pretty ineffective,” said Emma Moburg-Jones, trainer and co-owner of CrossFit So Ill, a Carbondale gym.
According to a survey released Dec. 29 by time management company FranklinCovey, three of the top four New Year’s resolutions for 2012 involve physical fitness. The top resolution was to become more physically fit, while improving health and losing weight came in close behind.
Moburg-Jones said exercise and working out at a gym are necessary to achieve those resolutions, but the resolutions themselves are unnecessary and probably on track for failure.
She said if people are waiting for New Year’s to make changes in their lifestyle, it’s probably not important enough for them.
But for those going into 2012 with exercising goals, thinking about them as lifestyle changes is essential, said Alan Beck, a personal training graduate assistant at the Recreation Center’s Lifestyle Enhancement Center.
“We’re a nation of immediate action. You want something now,” he said. “Weight loss isn’t a ‘now’ kind of thing. It’s more of a lifestyle.”
When working out, Beck said the focus should be on small goals, which will eventually add up, then there will not be discouragement when major results are gradual.
In terms of keeping on track with those goals, he said it helps to be accountable to something or someone, be it a trainer, a friend or a program.
Beck said motivation is the biggest factor in success, and while it’s easy to get motivated with a New Year’s resolution, that energy can burn off pretty quickly.
“It’s great, but I think (resolutions are) kind of useless,” he said.
Time management is the biggest challenge to sticking to goals, but it helps to set up a consistent, pre-planned time for working out, Beck said.
Otherwise, he said people may succumb to a snowball effect as they put off exercise for a day, then two, then three and so on.
Moburg-Jones said people who want to change their lifestyle should find a gym that fits their schedule. She said exercise routines don’t have to be long, drawn-out affairs. At CrossFit, she said, workouts are hard and fast, and usually last about 30 minutes overall.
Derek McNelly, a graduate student from Anna in business administration, said he’s able to fit in his workout at the Recreation Center everyday during lunch.
He said the only New Year’s resolution he ever had was to quit drinking soda, and working out is just something he does anyway.
Resolutions typically fail after the first month or so, McNelly said, and people are likely to start to forget about their commitment to it.
Cory Williams, a junior from Chicago studying psychology, said he usually has New Year’s resolutions, and while one to start eating healthy didn’t work out, those related to exercise usually have.
“You’ve got to see a goal and get a plan to get there and stick with it,” he said.
Williams said he starts every year with the goal of perfecting something. When he was 16, he said it was to get a six-pack; this year it’s to get his 2-mile run down to 13 minutes, he said.
The key to his previous success was setting specific, attainable goals and staying dedicated, and knowing not every resolution is going to be reached, he said.