SIKESTON - Thinking about making a resolution to exercise more, lose weight, quit smoking or manage your money better this year?
Join the crowd.
Between 40 and 45 percent of American adults make one or more resolutions each year, and these are the ones topping the list, according to researchers from the University of Scranton.
The tradition of making resolutions dates back 4,000 years, when the early Babylonians celebrated their New Year for 11 days at the beginning of spring, for a time of rebirth, renewal and resolutions.
And the tradition continues to this day. Christy Pullum, owner of Curves for Women in Sikeston, said December and January are always the busiest times of the year for new members to join.
"Normally there are about 20 new people a month, but this time of year it is about 40," Pullum said. "People are coming in and saying 'this is my New Years resolution, I'm going to get in shape and be healthier.'"
Now is a busy time at Ozark Fitness in Sikeston, too. "It's starting to pick up a little bit," said Delane Beckwith, manager. "Usually in January and February you have a lot of new customers."
Beckwith said Ozark Fitness offers free two-week passes for new members.
And come January, it will begin offering more programs, like yoga, kick boxing and aerobics to help those resolving to lose weight find their niche.
Making a resolution is one thing, but following through on it is another.
According to University of Scranton researchers, 75% of people maintain their resolutions after the first week, but after six months have passed, only 46% of people are still following through on their New Years resolutions.
Of the new members at Curves for Women, about half follow through with their resolutions, Pullum said. "If 40 joined probably 20 would slack off - they would stay members but wouldn't come," she said.
And believe it or not, Pullum said this is the slowest week at the gym. "This is the week to eat," she said.
There are a few guidelines people should remember when making resolutions. "Keep the resolutions realistic," suggested Taryn LeGrand-Lovett, clinical director at Bootheel Counseling Services in Sikeston. "Sometimes we can set too high of expectations for ourselves."
Too high of goals is a sure way for failure, she said.
Making a plan of action and breaking the overall goal into smaller steps is another thing LeGrand-Lovett recommended. For instance, someone attempting to lose weight could first explore ways to learn better eating habits, then start buying healthier foods, she said.
The buddy system is another strategy LeGrand-Lovett suggested. "Ask other people to remind you about your own goal," she said. However, she warned people should be sure to rely on a good-hearted friend they felt comfortable with.
LeGrand-Lovett suggested some alternative resolutions to these popular goals, too. "Usually resolutions are about something you want to change in your life," she said.
Trying to become more patient with others, be a better listener or put yourself in others shoes more "so you can think about where they're coming from," are all good goals, she said.
But she cautioned those making resolutions not to go overboard. "You're going to have more success if you pick out one or two that you think are more realistic for you," LeGrand-Lovett said. "Don't be too hard on yourself - change is hard."