At Deliberately Fit in Taos, owners Rosa and Brannon Badeaux saw an influx of new members in the first weeks of January. Rosa said it’s the first time they’ve seen such an increase in January in their 10 years of running the gym. It’s more typical for the bump to take place in February, but either group at any given time is sure to include people who want to follow a New Year’s resolution to get in better shape.
At Deliberately Fit, people who join as members can access the gym 24 hours a day and design and implement their own fitness programs. There are also personal training clients, some of whom want help designing an appropriate program, while others want help every time they exercise to make sure they have the right form and intensity.
While people of a variety of ages are members, many of the personal training clients at Deliberately Fit are adults in their 70s and older with about half of the people being in their 80s. These clients often have lifestyle goals, such as wanting to do daily activities – picking up groceries or their grandchildren and wanting to see those grandchildren graduate.
“With the younger members, the goals are different,” Rosa explained. “Men generally want to increase their size by building muscle, while women more often want to lose weight.”
Rosa said achieving a New Year’s resolution to improve some aspect of one’s fitness is all about taking small steps toward a bigger goal.
“The person who starts small and works their way up seems to be the most successful,” she said. “A person who makes a commitment and starts to see small changes is motivated to keep trying. They don’t get the same burnout that the whole person does.”
The short-lived nature of the New Year’s resolution
According to data from global polling company IPSOS, about 38 percent of U.S. adults make New Year’s resolutions each year, but 64 percent of those people give up on them before the end of January.
Less than 10 percent of those who make resolutions report actually keeping them and making real changes in their lives. What makes the difference for those who succeed?
In the US, the top three goals for this year were to exercise more, eat healthier and lose weight, according to Statista. It was also the most popular goals for last year.
What kind of decisions are successful?
Personal trainers and health coaches agree that blanket resolutions can fail if they don’t have specific steps. This is why goals are more successful than resolutions because they are often broken down into smaller steps. One popular framework suggests making SMART goals—those that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific.
A large-scale study in 2020 looked at more than 1,000 people who made New Year’s resolutions in Sweden. The most popular resolutions were again related to physical health, weight loss and eating habits. Those who were most successful had goals that were approach-oriented, focusing on starting a new behavior rather than avoidance-oriented goals, such as quitting smoking. The difference was 58.9 versus 47.1 percent, respectively, reports the science journal PLOS One.
The study participants who received some support, especially in the form of identifying a friend or family member to support them in achieving their goals, were more successful than other participants.
Resolutions more successful than wishful thinking
Goals can be set at any time, but the start of a new year is one when many people are likely to think about their lives with a broader perspective that allows them to identify areas that need change.
While making a decision certainly doesn’t guarantee success, those who have a specific plan seem to be more successful than those who just hope for change. The Journal of Clinical Psychology reported that those who made New Year’s resolutions were 44 percent more likely to succeed in that goal after six months than those who did not make a resolution but hoped to make a change later.
Research has shown that regular exercise can help you lose weight when combined with healthy eating habits. Exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, help your body manage blood sugar and insulin levels, help you quit smoking, along with improving your mental health, keeping your judgment skills sharp as you age, your bones and muscles to strengthen, and many other benefits. Exercise can also help you live longer, according to many studies published in the National Library of Medicine.
Virginia Morgan (83) has been working out at Deliberately Fit for the past 10 years. She said she is motivated to keep exercising because she likes to move her body.
Although she doesn’t make New Year’s resolutions, she sets daily goals for what she wants to achieve based on what she feels she needs to do for her life. In addition to working out, she tries to walk 2 miles a day at Kit Carson Park.
“It works” she said. “I’ve always done something: been a runner, cross-country skier and I just love it. It makes you feel good. It’s good for you. Exercise has many benefits.” Morgan credits the Badeauxs at Deliberately Fit for supporting her in her specific goals and for creating a supportive place to exercise.
“You have a spark in you. I have the spark in me,” she added. “And that spark motivates me. It keeps me going.” She plans to keep practicing forever.
Deliberately Fit is located at 324 Paseo del Pueblo Sur; website deliberatelyfit.com; call 575-758-2900.