The Health Section

New year, new you: Stay on track with New Year’s resolutions

The most common New Year’s resolutions each year are to be more physically active, stay fit or lose weight. But staying on track and succeeding in resolutions seems to be a rare occurrence for many people, according to a study by the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

The study, published in January 2017, looked at New Year’s resolutions made in 2016 and the new year. While 41 percent of Americans made New Year’s resolutions in 2016, only 9.2 percent were successful. Researchers also found 42.4 percent of participants reported that they never succeed on their resolutions.

Only 9.2 percent of people were successful with their New Year’s resolutions

Sticking with resolutions is tough

With the rich food, plentiful desserts and lack of activity during the holiday season, it’s not surprising that many want to start the new year on a healthy note.

As the year goes on, people were less likely to continue following their resolutions.

Researchers found 72.6 percent of people who made resolutions stuck with them after one week. Fewer people — 44.8 percent — maintained their resolutions after six months, according to the study.

Focus on the “why” behind your resolutions

Whether it’s losing weight, eating more fruits and vegetables or spending more time with family, the likelihood of success may increase if a person has a specific “why” behind choosing their resolution, according to Sheryl Maggipinto, a dietitian and wellness coach at Aetna.

72.6 percent of people maintained their resolutions after one week in 2016

44.8 percent of people maintained their resolutions after six months in 2016

“People need to ask themselves why they’re specifically making a resolution,” Maggipinto said. “Simply saying you’re going to cut something out of your diet won’t likely work.”

Realistic expectations are just as important as having a specific reason behind choosing a resolution. Losing a significant amount of weight won’t happen in a short period of time and getting in shape likely won’t be a quick and easy process.

“Be aware that it’ll be small steps,” Maggipinto said. “Just like you didn’t gain weight or get out of shape overnight, the changes won’t happen overnight.”

Having a specific “why” for choosing a resolution can increase the chances you stay and find success with your resolution

Maggipinto emphasized the need to be aware and have a “wellness vision.” Even for people that did not have success with their resolutions, Maggipinto explained that they should focus on the bigger picture.

“Making a healthy habit is important,” shes aid. “They may not have lost weight, but they’re eating healthier or going to the gym a few times a week — they created a new habit.”