Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Why Your New Year’s Resolution to Go to the Gym Will Fail

Health + Wellness

By William Clark

Come January, 40 percent of Americans will make New Years resolutions, and nearly half of them will aim to lose weight or get in shape.


But 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February, and gyms will experience a decrease in traffic after the first and second months of the year as those who made New Year's resolutions to get in shape lose steam.

As a lecturer at Binghamton and former Olympic weightlifter, world champion powerlifter and strength coach, much of my life has been spent in training halls and gyms around the country. People often ask me, "How do I stay motivated to work out?"

New Year's Resolutions

Nearly half of all respondents in a poll about 2018 New Year's resolutions wanted to lose weight or get in shape. Statistica / The Conversation / CC-BY-ND

Motivation and Short-Term Objectives

Years back, when I was at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, one of the sports psychologists told me that motivation is a lie.

It took me years of experience and research to figure out why, but I believe she was right.

Personally, I have no issues getting up on a cold and dark morning to train when a competition is drawing near. But when there is no immediate objective or goal in site, getting up that early is much harder.

Motivation is driven by emotion and that can be positive, as long as it is used for a short-term objective. For some, a New Year's resolution can serve as a motivator. But since motivation is based on emotion, it can't last long.

Think of it this way: No one can laugh or cry indefinitely, and that is exactly how we know that motivation will fail.

Emotion is a chemical release yielding a physiological response. If someone attempting to get in shape is reliant upon this reaction to propel them towards working out, they are almost sure to burn out, just like with a resolution.

When people buy gym memberships, they have the best of intentions in mind, but the commitments are made in a charged emotional state. Motivation helps with short-term objectives, but is virtually useless for objectives that require a greater length of time to accomplish.

In other words, don't totally discount the value of motivation, but don't count on it to last long either because it won't.

Discipline Yields Results

If motivation won't help you reach your goals, what will?

The answer is discipline. Discipline, as I define it, is the ability to do what is necessary for success when it is hardest to do so. Another way to think of it is having the ability, not necessarily the desire, to do what you need to when you least want to.

Failure to get up when the alarm rings, the inability to walk away from a late night of partying before game day or eating a doughnut when you have committed to no processed sugar are all failures of discipline - not motivation.

The keys to discipline are practice and consistency. Discipline means repetitive – and sometimes boring – action. There are no shortcuts. You can thank motivation for the first three weeks or so of your successful gym attendance, but after that you need to credit discipline.

There is another clear line defining the difference between motivation and discipline. Motivation in and of itself typically fails to build other qualities necessary for advancement, but discipline does. Discipline develops confidence and patience.

Discipline builds consistency and consistency yields habits. It is those habits that, in the end, will ultimately define success.

William Clark is the adjunct lecturer of health and wellness studies at New York's Binghamton University and State University.

Reposted with permission from The Conversation.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A grizzly bear sow with cub in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images Plus

Grizzly bears in Wyoming and Idaho won't be subject to a trophy hunt thanks to a federal court decision Wednesday upholding endangered species protections for these iconic animals.

Read More Show Less
Oregano oil is an extract that is not as strong as the essential oil, but appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Peakpx / CC by 1.0

By Alexandra Rowles

Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.

However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets Ronaldo Caiado, governor of the state of Goiás on June 5, 2020. Palácio do Planalto / CC BY 2.0

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over the world's second worst coronavirus outbreak after the U.S., said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Read More Show Less
Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less