Editor's note: This article was first published Jan. 2. We're bringing it back today, Jan. 12, in observation of Stick to Your New Year's Resolution Day. You can do it!
By JORGE RODAS, WWMT
Sometimes, those resolutions are just too big.
"You can lose motivation when you set goals that are unrealistic, and so, you know, it's important to set short goals that you can obtain," said therapist Gerald Brooks.
Setting goals that are too lofty can lead to serious emotional health damage if they don't always work out, Brooks said.
"You can lead into depression—downing yourself, other people," Brooks said. "Your world mindset could be negative, which could keep you from, you know, meeting that goal or any other goals that you set in your life."
Mike Carhart says he sees it all the time. New faces in January are as safe a bet as any for his industry. Carhart is a co-owner of Anytime Fitness in Portage, Michigan.
"It's nuts; it's awesome," Carhart said. "Our memberships skyrocket. People are coming in who have never had a gym membership before or had one and fell off."
He said six weeks into the new year, all those ambitions start to wear off.
"They see their goals starting to get farther and farther away," he said, before those people just stop coming altogether.
He says the key to success is asking yourself why you're getting in shape.
"The vast majority of times, stuff that really keeps people going is when you really break down to what they're truly after here in the gym: whether they want to move better on a daily basis, or they want to be able to play with their kids more without getting super tired," Carhart said.
"Why? That's the first question we should always ask ourselves when we want something, seeking satisfaction and pleasure," Brooks said. "Why? Why do we want to do this? Then, if we can't tie it to anything that's solid, then it's probably not a good goal.
"In order to answer that, you have to spend time getting to know yourself, and then you can set these things based off what you want to do and not other people's opinions."
Brooks says the best ways to enhance the chances of a New Year's resolution's success is to make smaller goals that are measurable and can be accomplished in a reasonable time frame.
Brooks also says failure is OK.
"Culturally, sometimes, we get ourselves in trouble by saying, 'Never give up,'" he said. "Well, you have to, at times, give up on specific things, but then continue and make adjustments to see how you can still meet that."
Ultimately, Brooks says, people may put too much stock into the idea of starting something new at the start of the year.
"People look at the new year, it's a fresh start, but you know you can have a fresh start at any time," Brooks said.