Each year, millions of Americans resolve to get in better shape and become healthier versions of themselves.

According to a recent YMCA survey of more than 1,000 adults, less than a quarter of respondents kept their resolution last year. An overwhelming 71 percent said they tried but fell short, and 40 percent confessed that they made it through only a couple of weeks or months.

However, there’s hope for the coming year. One-third of survey respondents who were making resolutions this year believe they’ll stick to it and reach their goals, with more than half believing that encouragement from others will keep them committed.

“Finding a supportive community like the Y can be beneficial in keeping resolutions on track, because our organization is so much more than a nonprofit gym,” said Jeff Collen, president/chief executive officer of the Racine YMCA. “It’s a community of supportive neighbors that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity for the new year and years to come.”

A positive outlook doesn’t always translate to action without setting manageable goals and leaning on the support of health and wellness communities. Here are five tips the Y recommends to help make a get-healthy New Year’s resolution stick:

1. Start small. Set attainable resolutions. For example, if your goal is to exercise more frequently in the new year, don’t schedule seven days a week at the gym. Start with a reasonable three days a week. If you’d like to eat healthier, try replacing desserts with other foods you enjoy, such as fruit or yogurt.

2. Take it one step at a time. Making a New Year’s resolution doesn’t require you to reassess every little detail of your life. Replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones takes time, so don’t become overwhelmed. Work to change one behavior at a time, and then go from there.

3. Choose a facility that focuses on a holistic approach to health. When it comes to adding healthy behaviors — like working out — to your lifestyle, finding a facility that keeps you motivated is critical to maintaining your exercise routine. Before committing to a membership, take a tour of local gyms to find the best fit for you. Your facility should not be just a gym, but a community organization that offers more health, more hope and more opportunity.

4. Establish a little friendly competition. More than half of the Y survey respondents felt a little “healthy competition” when friends encouraged them to be even more committed to keeping their New Year’s resolutions. Share your experiences with support groups — friends, family, fellow workout class members or close colleagues. Talking about your struggles and successes will make your goals more obtainable and less intimidating.

5. Set new year’s goals with someone you love. It’s easier to stick to your resolutions if you have a partner working toward similar goals. More than three-fourths of survey respondents indicated that they would set the same resolution for a member of their immediate family. Team up with a family member to set your 2018 goals, and establish a game plan that is dedicated to achieving them.

A special note

Our Strong Kids/Strong Communities annual support campaign allows everyone to belong to the YMCA, regardless of their economic situation. Based on the availability of funds, the YMCA strives to turn no one away due to an inability to pay.

For more information on YMCA membership and programs, stop by one of our branches, call us at 262-634-1994, or visit us on the website www.ymcaracine.org.

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