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Keeping new year’s resolutions can be difficult

Morning crowd at Quincy College gym.
Robin Lubbock
/
WBUR
Morning crowd at Quincy College gym.

Eleven days into a new year, you may be struggling to keep up with your new year's resolution, or you may have already broken the resolution. That’s not uncommon, according to some experts interviewed by And Another Thing.

"So when the new year rolls around, once people have gotten over all of their holiday cheer and their new year's celebrations, we definitely see an influx of people coming into the gym, purchasing memberships, getting themselves going on an exercise program," said Nadia Beaudoin, co-owner of Common Ground Fitness Center in Greenfield. "This is the time of year that people make those resolutions to get back into an exercise program."

The determination to improve their habits pays off for some people, but not for others.

“They hit it hard, and then they are so sore, or just so tired and fatigued because they push further than what they should have and then find themselves taking days off afterwards. And then once you start doing that, it's really hard to get started back up again,” Beaudoin told And Another Thing.

“People tend to underestimate how hard it is to change. It looks so easy when other people do things… And so because we underestimate how difficult it is to change, we sometimes don't have the resources or the things we need to make these behavior changes stick to really stick with our New Year's resolutions,” said Springfield College professor of psychology Judy Van Raalte.

Van Raalte reassures anyone who does not keep a new year's resolution that there is still hope. She notes that it usually takes smokers several attempts to quit.

“It's sort of the positive of setting a new year's resolution and failing because if you set a resolution and you don't need it, then you learn something. Doing it that way wasn't for me,” Van Raalte said.

Reasonable goals are also in your best interest.

“Starting off with those baby steps, make putting it into your schedule, making it routine. That's what's going to keep you coming back time and time again.” said Common Ground Fitness co-owner Nadia Beaudoin.

“If you're not sure with goal setting, you might set your goals and then reflect on what are the obstacles for you, what's going to prevent you from being successful and then come up with a plan for those things,” advised Van Raalte, ”Make it easy for yourself to succeed. Imagine that you'll have setbacks. What are you going to do to recover? You're going to eat the whole cake, or are you going to just say, ‘OK, that happened. I'm back on it?’”