Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition for millions of Americans. However, while choosing a resolution can be easy, sticking to it can seem impossible. A 2014 YMCA survey found that less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolutions. Many (71 percent) tried, but admitted they fell short of their goals, while 40 percent confessed they gave up within the first few months, even weeks, of the New Year.

While keeping a resolution may feel like an uphill battle, choosing the right organization helps immensely with achieving your goals. The YMCA of Greater Louisville can help by offering expert advice for healthy habits that can continue all year long.

When individuals and families become involved with the Y, they have the opportunity to improve their health and well-being and connect with the community, all while participating in their favorite activity at the Y. And to help even more people benefit from the Y, we are waiving the join fee, through January, at all 11 locations! We also continue to offer financial assistance to those in need to help ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to engage with the Y.

The Y is a leading voice on health and well-being issues and is committed to empowering people in our community to lead fuller lives. Because we know that healthy lifestyles are achieved through nurturing mind, body and spirit, well-being at the Y is so much more than just working out. Beyond fitness facilities, we provide educational programs to promote healthier decisions and offer a variety of programs that enhance physical, intellectual and spiritual strength. All of this support goes a long way toward helping you maintain your New Year’s goals.

The YMCA of Greater Louisville encourages community members to give their New Year’s resolutions a boost by creating smaller, more manageable goals that can lead to success of a larger one.

“’Losing weight’ is too broad,” explained Steve Tarver, president and CEO. “Reframe that big resolution into smaller, more manageable ones. Resolve to incorporate fruits and vegetables into at least two meals a day. If you’re eating out three times a week, make a goal to only eat out two times a week.”

The Y also explains that reframing your goals in a positive way can help you stick to them. It’s also important to avoid getting discouraged by setbacks. Even though you may experience some missteps throughout the day or week, that doesn’t mean you have to give up.

Be SMART when setting your goals and create an effective New Year’s resolution:

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

  • Specific: The more specific your goal, the better your chances of achieving it.
  • Measurable:  It’s easy to lose motivation if you’re not able to track your progress.
  • Actionable: You should be able to form an action plan for your goal.
  • Realistic:Everyone has limitations, and you need to recognize your limitations when thinking about your resolutions.
  • Time-Bound:  Think about breaking your long-term resolution into shorter time periods.

If the specific goal is to lose weight in order to be healthier, it can be measured in terms of pounds lost. The actions you take to reach this goal include going to the gym (for a measurable amount of time) and eating healthier food. Studies show that healthy weight loss is one to two pounds per week, so it is realistic to lose 20 pounds over the course of six months. Finally, with a July deadline, you have a reasonable time frame in which to reach this goal of losing 20 pounds.

If you feel overwhelmed, step back and make your goals achievable by starting small and building from there. Start your plan with these tips in mind:

  1. Start small. Break those big resolutions into small, achievable goals. Instead of cutting chocolate out of your diet for good, vow to only have it a few times a week. Or trade your two sodas a day for one soda and a glass of water.
  2. Take it one step at a time. Trying to change too many habits at once can easily lead to frustration. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, make a new month Focus on that one change for the month.
  3. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors, like increasing physical activity, it’s important to find a facility that keeps you motivated. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.
  4. Talk it out. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner or friend working toward similar goals. Team up with someone to set your 2018 goals and help each other establish a game plan dedicated to achieving them.

We invite you to try the Y for free, then choose the membership that builds spirit mind and body, and strengthens community. Your membership will not just bring about meaningful change in yourself, but in your community, too. At the Y, the possibilities are as endless as how good you’ll feel.