Why fitness resolutions don't work and how to change that

By Arianne Brown

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 31 2013 2:25 p.m. MST

Becoming healthy and more fit are among the top resolutions made each year. Sadly, they are the easiest resolutions to break. Here are some reasons why fitness resolutions don't work and some tips for success.

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Well, everybody, today is New Year's Day. Hopefully you are well rested despite maybe pulling an all-nighter. And let's hope that your stomach has recovered from that pint of eggnog you may have just chugged, or from the sausage and biscuits you finished a few hours ago while on an early breakfast run to Denny's, because today is the day you will begin that new fitness regimen you promised yourself you would start.

Each year, millions of people resolve to be healthier and more fit, and they choose Jan. 1 as the perfect day to start.

For all intents and purposes, this day makes sense. A new year signifies a new start. However, it seems most fitness resolutions end as soon as they begin. Why is this?

For one, consider the past few weeks you have just had. Thanksgiving, for starters, is one big Butterball turkey full of food … lots and lots of food. Fast forward not even a day later, and you were thrown into holiday shopping, which is one big pocket full of stress … lots and lots of stress.

Finally, there is what we all just experienced, the ringing in of the new year, which of course means staying up well past bedtime and losing sleep … lots and lots of sleep.

As much joy as the holidays bring, a lot of food, stress and sleepless nights come along with it. And as we all know, these three things do not mix well at all, let alone when one is gearing up for a healthier lifestyle.

If Jan. 1 is not the best day to start, what is? More importantly, how do you beat the odds and actually reach your fitness goals?

Here are some tips:

Begin on Jan. 2. By doing this, you are allowing yourself time to recover from New Year's Eve and are more likely to feel less bogged down. When you feel better exercising, you are more likely to continue with your goal.

Don't be discouraged by setbacks. Oftentimes, you will find you are taking two steps forward and one step back. Remember that even with the one step back, you are still one step ahead.

Don't put a time limit on your goal. Many will say, “I want to lose this much weight by June 1.” Putting a date stamp on a fitness goal can cause discouragement if you have not reached it or can cause you to revert back to your old ways once the date has passed.

So, rather than setting a time limit, make a lifetime fitness goal. Decide now that you will be healthy and fit for life. In doing so, no date will come and go or leave you discouraged because you will always be looking to the future. Which brings me to my last point:

Always look ahead. When you have decided to live a healthier lifestyle, it is OK to remember what life was like before, but it's more important to look ahead to what a healthier you will bring. Then when the holidays of 2014 roll around, you will be able to run, jump, skip or lunge right through them to 2015.

Arianne Brown is a mother of six who loves running the beautiful trails around Utah. For more articles by Arianne, follow her on Twitter @arimom5 or visit her blog, timetofititin.com.

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