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September 29, 2023

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Smaller New Year’s resolutions may be more practical to achieve

Before the first of each year, people take time to reflect on the past and decide what changes they want to make, but there is one resolution that some people have trouble sticking to — exercise.

Each year, the traffic at the Student Recreation Center typically peaks in February due to students’ New Year’s resolutions to live a more active lifestyle, said Director of Wellness Faith Yingling in an email.

“One of the biggest reasons people give for not being able to adhere to an exercise schedule is time,” Yingling said. “Making small changes to your regular day can have a large impact in the long run.”

Because regular exercise is associated with many health benefits as well as looking good, it tends to be a consistent top resolution for some year after year.

It reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight, enhances mood and lowers blood pressure, Yingling said.

“After the holidays people often feel like they need a fresh start and the beginning of the new year is a perfect time to start fresh and clean the slate, if you will,” she said.

For Josh Weinsheimer, making working out a resolution became a lost cause.

“I just never end up following through with it,” he said. “Way too many people are at the gym, too.”

Yingling said people make resolutions they do not end up keeping because they may seem “too large of goals to achieve” resulting in frustration, so then they quit.

She suggests people start off with smaller ones when thinking of resolutions so they can achieve success and feel the positive reinforcement people crave.

“For example, if working out is your resolution, try having a ‘workout buddy,’” Yingling said. “That way, you always have that accountability to show up to a workout.”

However, New Year’s resolutions are not for everybody. Senior Michael Cooper doesn’t believe in them.

“People say them and don’t do them,” he said. “Why do people have to wait until a new year comes around to do something that makes them happy? Just doesn’t make much sense to me.”

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 8 percent of people are fully successful in achieving their resolutions and 49 percent have infrequent success in resolution achievement, Yingling said.

Typical resolutions people take part in include exercise and eating right, weight loss, self-improvement or education, money and relationship related.

Weinsheimer’s resolution this year is to focus on himself instead of others. He said this is something he can see himself doing for the rest of his life.

“Maybe working out will come along with it, who knows,” Weinsheimer said.

Small changes can have a big impact over time and are more realistic to accomplish due to other things going on in a person’s life.

“The importance isn’t necessarily the New Year’s part, but it is making a positive change,” Yingling said. “Keep in mind, this change does not have to be intense or overwhelming.”

Substituting a bad habit for a better one will result in quitting the bad habit all together, such as drinking a glass of water in place of one soda beverage.

“Don’t count the small changes out,” Yingling said. “I encourage people to think about ways to incorporate those small changes into their life if they feel time [or what is going on in their life] is a barrier for them.”

Check out what other University students resolutions are by watching this video.

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