Entries in New Year's Resolutions (11)


Majority of Gym Members Dread the New Year’s Resolutions Crowd

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many people have made New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape in 2013, but some current and regular gym members aren’t thrilled about it.

A new survey conducted by Harris Interactive finds that 56 percent of current gym members somewhat dread the New Year’s resolution crowd.  Fifteen percent say they completely dread the newcomers. 

The regulars feel the New Year’s resolution folks make the gym crowded and take up machines.

But don’t despair, regulars.  The survey finds that 11 percent of adults have signed up for a gym membership as a New Year’s resolution and quit before the year was up.  Women are less likely to give up in less than a year than men, 14 percent and eight percent, respectfully.

Eighty percent of adults who have given up on the gym within a year, did so within the first five months of signing up.  Four percent quit in January and 14 percent gave up in February.

The Harris Interactive survey was conducted online between Dec. 17 and 19, and involved 2,309 U.S. adults.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Five Strategies for Highly Effective New Year's Resolutions

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Jeremy Dean doesn't like the idea that you've made a New Year's resolution yet again this year.  But as a research psychologist at University College London, he knows you've gone ahead and made one anyway.

"Most resolutions are too vague, too hard and too spontaneous," he said.  "You're better off taking the time to think things through and putting the necessary preparation into place so you have a chance of succeeding."

Still, if you're going to do this thing, he wants you to do it right.  Here are five strategies from Dean's new book, Making Habits, Breaking Habits, for making your resolutions stick.

Balance Good and Bad

A positive outlook is a good start to a resolution but it will only get you so far, Dean said.  You also need to think about everything that can stand in your way.  Psychologists call this technique "mental contrasting." It works, Dean said, because it fires up motivation and because it better prepares you for what can go wrong.

Focus on Process

Fantasizing about being rich or thin can be oddly de-motivating, because it allows you to taste just enough success to stop you from taking action.  "You're a lot more likely to reach your goals if you focus on the steps you need to take to get there rather than the end result itself," Dean pointed out.

Think "If/Then"

Resolutions that are too vague are doomed to failure, Dean says.  But so are ones that are hyper-specific.  Strike the happy medium by turning to resolutions into "if/then" statements.

Let's say your aim is to live a more active lifestyle.  Starting off with the idea you'd like to walk the stairs more often, craft your goal like this: If I come to an elevator, then I will take the stairs or get off one floor early and take the stairs from there.

Such a statement links the actions you wish to take (walking stairs) with a common situation (coming to an elevator), increasing the likelihood that you'll follow through because it allows you to hook your habit onto a chain of events in your day that's already taking place.

Replace Don't Erase

When most people decide to address a bad habit such as smoking or binge eating, they usually try to squelch it.  You're better off trying to replace the bad habit with a better one.  So, instead of trying to completely terminate a habit like nighttime snacking, Dean suggested replacing the junk food for which you normally reach with some fruit.

Keep on Repeating

Just how long does it take to create a new habit?  In a study carried out at University College London, 96 participants were asked to make an everyday behavior such as drinking more water, eating more fruit or exercising into a regular practice.  More than half the participants couldn't hack it and quickly dropped out, but those who kept at it took an average of 66 days before the new routine became automatic and subconscious.

There was some variation: Simple tasks such as drinking a glass of water before breakfast took only about 20 days to take hold.  Exercise proved to be the most stubborn goal; one participant who lasted until the end of the study took 84 days to make doing 50 sit ups a day a regular occurrence.

Dean said that each time you repeat the same action, consider it a mini-victory and know that it moves you one step closer to making your resolution an official habit.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Will You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution?

Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Millions of people have made resolutions for 2013, but if past resolution behavior is any indication of future performance, close to one-third of them will give up on their pledge within the first 30 days.

A survey conducted by the global research firm Kelton for self-help author Rory Vaden reveals that one-in-two Americans made a resolution in 2012, but 48 percent gave up at some point.

Thirty-one percent of all 2012 resolution-makers confessed that they stopped following through on their pledges within the first 30 days.

However, the survey did find that for those folks who made it past Jan. 30, more than three-quarters of them were still sticking with their resolutions in December.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Parents’ Top Resolution for Kids in 2013: Clean Your Room

Jen Siska/Lifesize/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents want their children to accomplish many things, but when asked which New Year’s resolutions, if any, they would pick on their behalf, 47 percent of moms and dads said they want their kids to clean their room more often.

The finding comes from a new Harris Interactive survey, which also reveals that 87 percent of parents of kids ages 6-17 want to choose a New Year's resolution for their child or children.

The top resolutions for kids, chosen by parents:

1. Clean up their room more often – 47 percent
2. Be more engaged in school – 33 percent
3. Have healthier eating habits – 33 percent
4. Get more physical activity – 33 percent
5. Play fewer video games – 29 percent
6. Minding their manners – 24 percent
7. Better hygiene – 22 percent
8. Texting less and reading more – 21 percent
9. Being a better friend – 11 percent
10. Other – 4 percent

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive from Dec. 17-19 on behalf of K12, a provider of online education products and services for students.  The survey involved 2,309 adults, among which 421 are parents of children age 6-17.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Is Being Overweight Really Bad For You?

Creatas/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- If your New Year's resolution is to lose those last few pounds that are keeping you out of your skinny jeans, a new review suggests you may want to think twice.

The research reinforces a counterintuitive point that past studies have suggested -- being a bit on the heavy side may actually cut your risk of dying prematurely.

In the review, published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at nearly 100 studies involving 2.88 million people that compared body mass index, or BMI, to the risk of death from any cause.

BMI is derived from a formula that compares your height to your weight. It is currently the standard means of determining whether someone is underweight, of normal weight, overweight or obese.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the heaviest among us -- those who have a BMI above 30 -- have a higher risk of death than those who are considered to be at a "normal" weight, or a BMI between 18.5 and 25.

But the researchers also found a slight dip in death risk -- about 6 percent -- in those whose BMIs were between 25 and 30. In other words, people who would be classified as overweight appear to have a lower risk of death from any cause.

Moreover, for those who were considered to be on the lower end of the obesity spectrum, with a BMI of 30 to 35, the risk of death from any cause was not significantly different from that experienced by those who were at a normal weight.

As is apparent from the number of studies examined in this review, this is not the first time that a link has been suggested between being a tad on the heavy side and having a decreased risk of death. And several past studies have disputed this link. But this new review may lend support to the idea that our health may not be as closely tied to the numbers on our scales as we might have been led to believe.

Lead study researcher Katherine Flegal, Ph.D., of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, said the review was in many ways a follow-up to research she and her colleagues published in 2005 that suggested a slightly higher-than-normal BMI was necessarily attached to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease.

"We found that being overweight in that study was not associated with excess mortality from cardiovascular disease or cancer, but it reduced mortality from other things," Flegal said. "There's even some research that suggests body fat itself could be cardioprotective."

On one hand, said obesity experts not involved with the research, the findings suggest that the current widespread use of BMI as a way to determine if one is overweight or obese may need to be reconsidered. Flegal said that the problem may not be the BMI scale, but, rather, how the different rungs on the BMI ladder are interpreted by doctors. In this way, such research may have implications for physicians who currently advise patients in the overweight BMI category to lose a few pounds.

"These are not health categories, these are weight categories," Flegal said.

Dr. David Katz, director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center, agreed that this review supports the idea that doctors may need to reexamine the way they advise certain patients.

"In a society prone to both epidemic and increasingly severe obesity, it may be that those who manage to remain in the 'overweight' class are, in fact, those who are actually doing quite well," said Katz, who was not involved with the study. "This study suggests that if the basis for defining 'overweight' is adverse health effects, we may want to raise the threshold. The definition of 'overweight' should begin where health risks begin."

Katz pointed out that the study looked only at death rates -- not quality of life. And this is an area, he said, that may be affected by being overweight or slightly obese.

"We have recent evidence -- from the Lancet's 'Global Burden of Disease' study -- that we are living longer, but sicker," he said. "It may be that overweight does, indeed, contribute to type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but not to premature death.

"Living is not really the prize; living well is the prize. So we should be careful before jumping to conclusions about these findings."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New Year's Resolutions: Make This Year's Goals Stick

Tom Morello/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When the gym becomes less crowded, the smoke breaks more frequent and dessert once again takes its place at the table, it becomes clear: New Year's resolutions have fallen by the wayside.

"I think the problem people have is that they often set pretty unrealistic goals," says Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology at DePaul University and the author of Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting It Done.

In order to make 2013 a transformative year, Ferrari recommends people be realistic and focus on small wins and successes.

"We need to have small interim goals rather than end goals," he says.  "I don't think we reward the early bird anymore.  We punish people if they don't do things but we don't reward them if they meet their goal."

Losing weight -- a resolution for millions of people each year -- can become more attainable if people start small, Ferrari says.

"You can't lose 40 pounds in four weeks, but you can lose 4 pounds in four weeks," he says.

Giving up cigarettes, another resolution that is often met with discouragement and procrastination, can become easier, Ferrari says, when small milestones are celebrated and rewarded.

"If you know you have a reward at the end, you're more likely to do something.  You can say, 'Great, I have earned it now.  I've been wanting to go to this movie, buy that pair of shoes,'" he says.

And if the resolutions are going to stick this year, Ferrari recommends everyone find a friend or partner to hold them accountable.

"Create a party atmosphere.  Have everybody come with two or three resolutions written on a piece of paper.  Mix it up and then have a grab bag and share your goals," he says.  "Write it publicly on your Facebook."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Year, New You: Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- John F. Kennedy once said, "Change is the law of life."

Fast forward to today, when the law of life is in full force in U.S. culture, and coming in at a rapid pace.

We are trekking through revolutionary change on every front, from technology to the economy to social issues and more. As we try to adjust to these changes, some of us are feeling challenged in areas we might least expect.

It seems as though the increase in the number of choices that lands in our laps in our everyday lives has become the challenge for many right now. Making decisions feels, for many, to be a daunting and overwhelming task.

We want to stave off stress and anxiety, so what can we do to simplify? Try these tips to improve your decision-making skills to better adapt to the multi-changing, multi-choice world we live in today.

Remember that decision making is all about the decision maker. The more you know about yourself, your wants, your needs, your faults and your limitations and expectations, the easier it is to navigate the choices that will work best for you.

Weigh and inform your decisions.
Decision making requires some sort of process, so train yourself to sift through pros and cons in your mind. You do this naturally anyway, but being conscious of it can speed up and improve the process.

Resist the temptation to imagine that we actually need all the choices available to us. We don't, so stop yourself from feeling the pressure to partake in unnecessary choice making as often as possible.

Set a time limit. When you find yourself inundated and overwhelmed in making a decision, put a time limit on it and stick to it.

Remember your simpler life as a child. Go back to your time as a kid and remember what you did when you did not have as many choices and decisions to make. Apply from that time what you can today.

Keep an eye on your doubt. You wouldn't need to make a decision if the correct choice were obvious, so remember the doubt that you feel is there to help you. Once you make your decision, remember to let the doubt go.

Our life journey is made up by the choices we make along the way. Remind yourself that in every moment of your life, you have opportunity to make the choice that can lead you to where you want to go.

When you feel paralyzed by the process, keep the words of Teddy Roosevelt in mind:

"In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Doctor-Prescribed Resolutions for 2012

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Nearly 41 percent of Americans are making resolutions this year, and 35 percent of people will break them by the end of the month, according to a survey conducted by Everyday Health. Before you throw in the New Year’s resolution towel, however, you might be interested in some simple changes to your life that can improve your overall health and well-being.

Dr. Mallika Marshall, Everyday Health medical director, conducted a survey of doctors themselves, to try to find out which health promises are really worth keeping, which resolutions they make themselves and which tools they use to lead a healthy lifestyle.

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A total of 375 physicians weighed in on the most important health resolutions their patients should make in 2012, according to Everyday Health. One-third were in family practice, one-third in internal medicine; the balance were in general practice, cardiology, pediatrics, geriatric, or emergency medicine. Two-thirds of the physicians who participated were male.

The suggestions included getting at least seven hours of sleep, unplugging from technology at least once a week and spending more time with loved ones.  Yes, Marshall says, “having that emotional connection with other people can reduce your blood pressure, reduce your risk of depression and anxiety, help you live longer and reduce your risk of dementia and other age-related changes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Year, New You: Get Fit for Less Than $50

George Doyle/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking for ways to jump-start your health in the New Year?  Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to save money and to lose weight, but gym membership fees can be pricey.

Instead of spending at least $100 per month on a gym membership, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak says you can build your own gym at home for less than $50. You only have to spend the money once, and then you’ll be fully-equipped for a full-body workout routine all year long.

Pasternak, a co-host of ABC’s new show The Revolution, brought the five essential items you need to create a gym in your own home to Good Morning America and demonstrated a simple workout circuit to shed calories and burn fat. Now there’s really no excuse not to exercise.

1. Jump Rope, $2.75:  There’s no need for big, heavy and expensive treadmills or other cardio machines, you can warm up and get your cardio on with a simple jump rope. Jumping rope for 15 minutes can burn well over 200 calories.

2. Blow up Ball, $15:  With a blow-up ball, you can improve your posture, tighten your glutes and, over time, get a perfect six-pack. The ball can not only be used for crunches but can double as a chair for balance and posture outside your standard workout.

3. Set of Dumbbells, $8:  Dumbbells can be used to work your triceps, biceps, rhomboids and all sorts of muscle groups through tons of different upper- and lower-body exercises. To wok your thighs and butt, Pasternak recommends a reverse lunge with a set of dumbbells. The curl press works your shoulders and arms.

4. Yoga Mat, $7:  A standard yoga mat is an essential for any at-home gym. You can do floor exercises on the mat, work your abs and glutes, as well as stretch, which improves your posture and flexibility to prevent injuries.

5. Hula Hooping, $9: 
While it’s important to burn calories during your workout, it’s also important to burn extra calories outside the traditional workout window. Instead of sitting on the couch while watching TV, during commercial breaks, get up and hula hoop. An hour-long television show has about 15 minutes of commercials, so you could burn an extra 120 calories just by hula hooping in that time.

For more lifestyle tips, watch The Revolution, which premieres Monday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m., ET on ABC.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Why Your New Year’s Resolution Will Fail

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Every year, December 31 rolls around and many of us are forced to acknowledge that we’ve spent the entire month in a sugar cookie and candy cane-scented shame spiral.  After we acknowledge that our eating or other habits have gone awry, hope for change is placed in a New Year's resolution. But a month later, old habits seem to return as quickly as they left.

Dr. Martin Binks, clinical director & CEO of Binks Behavioral Health, offers these five reasons why resolutions fail, and help in finding the solution to making this year more successful.

  1. Unrealistic goals.  Losing a significant percentage of your body mass, speaking fluent Cantonese, and learning how to play a violin concerto in one year isn’t going to happen.  A realistic and healthy goal for weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week, and the more effort you put in to learning a new skill over time, the better you will get.
  2. Expecting something magical.  Do you think once the clock strikes midnight you will magically stop smoking?  “Most people try to quit smoking and fail six or seven times before they quit,” says Binks.  “Looking at your life magically on January 1st doesn’t make it all go away.  Find things that you’ll be able to do in the context of your life.”
  3. You're surrounded by temptation.  Having a house full of chocolate isn’t going to help you stay on track if you plan on losing weight.  Give away most of your holiday sweets, but save the good stuff.  Indulging in sweets every so often will keep your healthful eating on track.
  4. You have too many resolutions.  Focusing on one goal will guarantee greater success.  The simpler and more focused your goal, the easier it will be to attain.
  5. Going in blind.  Would you get in your car and drive if you didn’t know where you were going?  If you’re trying to lose weight, think about exercise and diet.  Don’t go to extremes by eating lettuce and running 20 miles a week.  Set a plan that fits in with your schedule and goals that is realistic and achievable, such as going for a walk three times a week.  Schedule in a “buffer” week after New Year’s to adjust to eating better and getting on track.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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