These days, holiday season stretches from Halloween all the way to New Year’s. That means months of overeating, inactivity and inevitable weight gain. Then, come January 1, we resolve to get back on track. It’s basically trying to undo the damage we’ve done — a self-perpetuating cycle.
Instead, what if we resolved to not to that to ourselves again this year? Good news: It’s easier than it may appear. If we start our resolutions earlier — say, today — and make them more reasonable, it wouldn’t be such a futile exercise.
Whether you’re hoping to improve your eating habits, run faster or start exercising regularly, making a resolution now versus waiting for the ball to drop on December 31 will likely help you meet your goal in a more realistic way.
Here are a few great reasons to get a headstart on your resolution:
1. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS RARELY WORK
While nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, only 9% of them report feeling successful in achieving it. Among those, 76% are weight-related or self improvement-related, and the dropoff for follow-through on those is steep. More than 40% of resolutions are broken after January 31. The odds are stacked against your New Year’s resolution working, so why not get a head start?
2. IT’S EASIER TO FIND HELP
With 41% of Americans making New Year’s resolutions, that means on January 2, everyone will have a vague sense of smugness as they hit the gym, skip dessert or clean out their pantry. Basically, everyone is worried about their own resolutions, and probably won’t care too much about helping you keep yours. If you start a month early, though, you’ll have plenty of resources to tap into before other people get stressed about their own goals and objectives.
3. YOU CAN FIND A REAL PARTNER IN CRIME
Any accountability partner you find now will be more legit than a December 31st buddy, who might be on board, two glasses of champagne in, but good luck getting them to run with you on January 1. With around half of resolution-setters dropping off the radar after two months, finding someone in November or December to start running with you regularly means he or she is also likely a lot more serious about it, not just setting an arbitrary resolution.
4. YOUR GOAL IS MORE LIKELY TO BE REALISTIC
Making your resolutions when a fresh calendar is blank and shiny and everyone around you is planning sweeping life changes, means they’re less likely to be realistic — which means they’re less likely to be achievable. By making a resolution or setting a goal on your own, you’re less likely to buy into the hype — and more likely to pick a goal that’s actually right for you.
5. THE GYMS ARE EMPTY
From a purely practical standpoint, the worst time to hit a gym or join a training group is January 1, when everyone flocks to the gym to start their resolution to get fit. In December, trainers have more free time as other clients leave for the holidays, so it’s a great opportunity to get into the gym and get set up before the January rush hits. (It’s also a great time to hit end-of-season sales on sporting goods and a new kit you’ll need.)
READ MORE > 5 CULPRITS BEHIND YOUR FITNESS PLATEAU
6. THE HOLIDAY SEASON WON’T SET YOU BACK
The problem with starting a resolution — especially fitness, diet or health related — on January 1 is that it lets you overindulge, skip workouts in favor of parties, sip cocktails instead of water and overeat cookies until January. If you’ve already started your resolution on December 1, then you’re more likely to eat healthier or stick to your regular workout schedule. You’re setting up for a great holiday season, and your goal won’t need to be losing the 10 pounds you gained.
7. YOU’LL ALREADY BE ON TRACK WHEN THE BALL DROPS
Smugness on New Year’s Eve as you realize you’re already making headway toward your goal? Priceless.