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Everybody’s favourite resolution

Spencer Van Dyk | Fulcrum Staff

Photo by Justin Labelle

Welcome to January, the month where we make resolutions and convince ourselves that, unlike the previous 20 we made, we will actually keep these ones. This is it: new year, new habits.

Gym memberships skyrocket this month as people attempt to put their money where their mouths are and promise to get fit, but according to London, Ont Goodlife fitness instructor Kristen Hajpel, people are buying the memberships as a sign of intent, and usually don’t commit to long-term gym attendance after January.

“For example, it’s normal to sell two to three [gym memberships] a day on a good day, but the past three days, I’ve been selling six to eight a day,” Hajpel explained. “You get a lot of people who have been members before, but because of the time of year, want to come back and do it again.”

According to a study published by, 60 per cent of New Year’s resolutions declared in 2012 were to lose weight and improve diets. Statistically speaking,  most people give up on their self-improvement promises by Jan. 9, less than a third of the way through the month. If you are among the 60 per cent wanting to get fit, there are things to keep in mind when trying to stick to your goal.

Perhaps the best advice is not to do it alone. Ask a friend to come along, or choose a gym with trainers. You need people to be accountable to—less than 10 per cent of people maintain their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year. Be one of them.

“If the person’s issue is a lack of motivation, it always helps to know there’s someone there waiting for you,” Hajpel said. “Your workouts are all planned out for you. We sell the start-up packages, which are basically just to get people using the gym. We just want people to commit no matter what they’re committing to: a group exercise class, to a cardio orientation, or to a personal training program, we just want people to commit, not just sign up.”

Hajpel also said that once the novelty of the gym has worn off and the excitement of having a new goal has faded, people will slowly trickle out of the gym and back to the fast-food chains. She said the solution to that problem is to maintain not the resolution, but its newness.

“Try something new; try something you haven’t done before,” she said. “Gyms are like Tim Hortons: they’re everywhere. Grab a friend; try something different. The problem is that people get bored. They’re not seeing the results that they want to, and they don’t know what to do next, so they’re not pushing themselves past their comfort level.”

Don Pezzutto, a general medical practitioner and family doctor based in London, Ont. has seen more people at the gyms than at his practice in these last few weeks, suggesting that people tend to hit the gym without making other healthy adjustments to their lifestyles.

The goal should be to get fit and healthy, not to just lose weight. According to Dr. Pezzutto, people should be constantly trying to improve their health  as opposed to using the beginning of a new year to make lofty promises they then fail to keep.

“Quit smoking any way you can,” he explained. “Make sure exercise becomes part of your routine, which is something that you do, not something you need to make time for, and eat healthy. That’s it.”

It truly is simple: eat better, move more. The new year directly follows Christmas, the season of binge eating and drinking, where any health progress made tends to be swiftly lost. In the spirit of resolution season, promise yourself that you will make steady improvements to your lifestyle. Getting fit is not about a quick-fix diet or exercise regimen; it is about permanent and ongoing changes—any time of the year.