Each year, when the clock strikes midnight and calendars flip to Jan. 1, people everywhere feel a jolt of inspiration to change their habits and lifestyle.
The cause for this sudden burst of motivation does not come from the champagne, but rather from the idea of a new year and a fresh, clean slate. The morning after New Year’s Eve is when individuals reflect on their memories (of varying clarity) from the previous night and smile as they vow to be better human beings.
According to USA.gov, Americans most commonly resolve at the start of each new year to lose weight, save money, get a better job, get fit, eat healthily, get a better education, drink less, reduce stress, quit smoking, take more interesting trips and help others more often.
Walking through McComas Hall in the past week indicated that many chose losing weight or getting fit as their resolution. Gym-goers had to push through hordes of sweaty students to search for an open StairMaster to begin toning that gluteus maximus in preparation for beach season.
Every inch of the gym is filled with women who want to fit into their itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie, yellow polka-dot bikinis and men who want to be buff enough to impress them.
“Working out is an especially big resolution for people in college because spring break (is) right around the corner,” said Brianna Nielsen, a senior psychology major who often makes her way to the gym throughout the year and recently began teaching Pilates classes. “I’ve definitely noticed that the attendance in exercise classes is really big right after New Year’s and right up until spring break.”
Like most resolutions, eating healthily and exercising are noble goals, yet are often carried out in unhealthy or ineffective
“I think it’s a good way to give yourself a goal, but no one seems to follow through on their resolutions,” said Alex Bauroth, freshman general engineering major.
In fact, people typically approach high-shooting resolutions at full speed initially. But soon it becomes possible again to walk around the gym without bumping into people, as the crowd of resolution-makers thins — usually before reaching their goal to lose weight.
Like all things new, the idea of positive change is exciting at first, but as 2012 becomes less “new,” motivation to achieve resolutions may fade.
“I think people’s resolutions to work out are not effective because it makes the gym really crowded, and people always get burnt out after about a month,” said Jeff Dale, a sophomore management major.
With that in mind, it might be wise for people to make an additional resolution to stay on track.
“People kind of taper off in exercise classes as the semester goes by,” Nielsen said. “I feel like you need to set your sights on something more than spring break. It’s got to be about feeling good and really committing to it.”
At McComas, events such as Free Week, which offers free exercise classes during the first week of the semester, are geared to generate interest in new workout programs and regimens for those with “get fit” resolutions to add to their fitness routines.
The lines for these classes in the following weeks, accompanied by the number of workout machines in use at the gym, will be the true sign of whether this year is any different when it comes to students following through on their goals.