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Year after year, losing weight is top on the list of Americans’ resolutions.
New Year’s resolutions are as easy to break as they are to make, but experts say keeping it simple helps people hold onto those promises of self-improvement.
From losing weight and eating better to fighting less and giving more, resolutions run the gamut, but usually have one thing in common — they’re hard to keep. Only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions stick to them, according to research from the University of Scranton.
Former New York City Ballet dancer Marisa Ceveris, no stranger to resolutions — or discipline — says the biggest mistake people make is having too-lofty goals.
“When it’s all or nothing, that’s really hard to keep focused,” said Ceveris, who also starred in “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway. “I always tell people, you can have a big goal, but also have smaller things, and stick to that.”
She says people are also too quick to ditch resolutions when they mess up.
“If you fall of the wagon, you don’t have to wait until Jan. 1 to start again!” Ceveris said. “Every Monday, every day is a fresh start.”
Yoga instructor Jess Gronholm, founder of the on-the-go workout series Dirty Yoga, also shuns the “all or nothing” model.
“Don’t try to make a lot of changes at once,” she said. “Make one positive change a month and keep at it until it’s a habit. Then tackle the next change you’d like to make.”
For Americans, the No. 1 resolution is losing weight, according to the research firm YouGov.
To make sticking to your workout plan easier, start with clothes. Invest in quality exercise pieces that look good and feel good, so you’re less likely to ditch the gym.
“When you reach your hand in the drawer at 5:30 or 6 in the morning, you want something that feels welcoming — not something that makes you want to climb back under the covers,” said Ceveris, who sells her own line of yoga and dancewear on Rodales.com.
Bethany Lyons, a former SoulCycle instructor and founder of Lyons Den Power Yoga, suggests telling the world about your resolution — you’re less likely to break it if pride is on the line.
“Announce your goal to friends, family, random strangers, social media. This puts your intention out there into the universe and the universe will support you in ways you have yet to imagine,” she said.
Lastly, consistency is key — don’t expect to see a six-pack of abs and a toned tummy overnight.
“When I was dancing, I didn’t really have to worry about what I was eating, or how much exercise I got, because that was all built in for us,” Ceveris said. “But now that I’m older, it’s something I have to think about. With any physical work, you won’t see results immediately. You have to be consistent, and chip away at it slowly.”