A couple days into 2019, locals had already planned out certain things they wanted to accomplish.

Kayden Webb wanted to train for and run her first marathon, and her mom, Christie, wanted to get in shape. Roxie Tucker wanted to lose some weight and quit smoking. One man set his bar a little lower.

“Just staying alive,” he said.

Brenda Anguiano said she wanted to get in shape, save money and improve her focus over the coming months. It was a chance to make herself “a better me,” she said.

“Not everybody likes to fix themselves. They just go with the flow. But, I would like to fix myself for the better. Sometimes going with the flow isn’t always what’s for the best…” Anguiano said.

Resolutions are standbys of early January, yet the vast majority tend to fail by mid-February, according to a 2015 article by U.S. News and World Report.

The temporary surges are evident in local fitness centers like the Garden City Recreation Commission’s Core Fitness facility and the Garden City Family YMCA. A burst of new or resurging gym-goers is common in January, but often tends to drift off in the coming months, said Aaron Stewart, Recreation Commission superintendent, and Chad Knight, Garden City YMCA CEO.

Neither had exact numbers for this year’s boost, but the sudden increase in usage often died off around summertime for Core, when members instead exercise outside, Stewart said, and around mid-February for the YMCA, when the post-New Year motivation dwindles, Knight said.

Humans are creatures of habit, Knight said, and often people don’t put in enough time upfront — about 12 weeks, he estimated — to build the routine. He and Stewart both suggested working out with someone else as an accountability partner. Fitness classes and sessions with personal trainers, available at both facilities, also added accountability and structure to regular work-outs, Stewart said.

“From my personal experience, it’s taking it one day at a time. And even when you fall off the horse for a week, just get back up and get back in there, and it’s OK that you fell off the horse for a week. You just don’t want to stay off the horse...” Stewart said. “Even if you didn’t hit your goal that day, it restarts the next day.”

Common resolutions go beyond fitness. A 2015 poll showed interest in drinking less alcohol, self-care or learning a new hobby. For those looking to become more active readers, Calli Villanueva, programming supervisor at Finney County Public Library, advised reading a little — from books to newspapers to magazines — every day. Take books to waiting rooms and on commutes and pick something up outside of your normal genres or subjects, she said.

Parents could fit reading in by reading to their kids. The library holds story times for young children and weekly book clubs for teenagers and adults, which are all laid out on the library’s online calendar, she said.

“Read as much as you can, even if just a little bit,” Villanueva said.

Plenty of people haven’t made resolutions this year. Locals said they can’t keep them, or are afraid they can’t keep them, so they didn’t bother.

Lisa Southern, executive director at Compass Behavioral Health, said a good, even preferable, alternative is for individuals to dedicate themselves to focused, achievable lifestyle changes, rather than fleeting resolutions.

The difference was smaller, continual change throughout the year, she said. Instead of attempting many things at once at the beginning of the year, people can prioritize goals and focus on one each quarter. Breaking goals down into smaller steps also generally made them more doable, she said.

In the meantime, they could practice self-care by avoiding substance use, prioritizing healthy foods, moving or exercising regularly, settling into a healthy sleep schedule and seeing a primary care physician at least one to two times a year, she said. They can be realistic about their surroundings and capabilities, live in the present, communicate openly and directly, take risks, set personal limits and maintain a positive attitude.

“I think some people see (self-care) as selfish … If you take care of yourself and encourage other people to take care of themselves, then that whole department, family unit, whatever, is probably going to function better. It’s really not selfish for people to take care of themselves. It’s very healthy,” Southern said.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.