If your New Year's resolution is to lose weight or get in shape you are not alone. Every January millions of Americans make it their goal to be healthier, but studies show that more than half of those people will fail.
According to an article in Positive Psychology News, within two weeks after the new year 30 percent of people have scaled back their resolution efforts. By June most people have given up all together; in fact, only 12 percent of people achieve their resolutions.
"People set really vague general goals that are hard to keep," said Melissa Jones, licensed psychologist in Provo. "But there a few things people can do to set goals that are more likely to be achieved."
Jones suggests people set specific goals that can be measured and attained.
"Goals need to be realistic and be things that are actually possible to achieve," Jones said. "If you want to lose 20 pounds by June, make sure you actually have 20 pounds to lose and that you have the motivation to do it."
Many gyms are offering discounted memberships and trials to help people keep those New Year's resolutions.
"There is definitely a lot more people in the gym in January," Kalae Mawahine, manager at University Gold's Gym, said. "That surge usually only last about a month or a month and a half, though."
Jones says one of the main reasons people lose motivation early on is because they expect perfection in their resolutions.
"A lot of people will say, 'I am going to work out five times a week,' but then when in the second week of January they only work out four times they feel like they failed and give up," she said. "Be sure to build forgiveness and compassion for yourself into your resolutions."
Another suggestion Jones makes for keeping resolution is to make sure you have a system of support. Many weight loss programs, like Weight Watchers, are designed to give that sense of support. Take Off Pounds Sensibly, or TOPS, is another program working to hold people accountable for their goals.
"Everyone knows how to eat healthy, but it is making those choices," TOPS area captain DoriLynn Roberts said. "People come in and weigh in each week and have to be accountable at those meetings."
Roberts says each weekly meeting starts with roll call where members have to say how much weight they lost or gained that week. She also says memberships increase drastically in January but last year 70 percent of new members stayed throughout the year.
"Anytime someone wants to make a change they need to talk to someone about it, someone who will make them accountable for that change," Robert said. "That is what TOPS does. You have a support system that helps you make that change."
But if you aren't motivated to make or keep a new year's resolution this year Jones says forcing yourself will likely result in failure.
"The best time to set a new goal is when there is the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional motivation, when you are really ready to work on those goals and that is not always going to naturally occur on Jan. 1," she said. "Set goals whenever you are a ready to meet them."