As we welcome a bright, fresh 2019 and sweep old, musty 2018 into the dust bin of old calendars and forgettable birthdays, you know what’s coming: New Year’s resolutions.
Frankly, they loom above us like dark clouds of failure every year. But you’re not alone. Who can actually live up to their greatest hopes and goals? Very few people, it seems. A recent study found that 50% of people fail at their resolutions in the first month of the year. Yup, one and done. Happy New Year, indeed, y’all!
It’s not for lack of decent goals. Here are the most common resolutions:
Diet or eat healthier (71%)
Exercise more (65%)
Lose weight (54%)
Save more and spend less (32%)
Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
Quit smoking (21%)
Read more (17%)
Find another job (16%)
Drink less alcohol (15%)
Spend more time with family and friends (13%)
Half of these resolutions involve health and wellness goals. All of them are about self-care. So why do we fail? What can we do about that?
Every January sees a sharp spike in new health club memberships. But then the self-discipline required for regular workouts fades. The resolution fails.
People buy exercise bikes or treadmills. In a few weeks they have turned into expensive clothes racks, hidden beneath the neglected work-out clothes we bought for creating the new us. They peek through the pile just enough to mock our commitment to our own well-being. The resolution fails.
Time becomes full of everyday routines and the hope of learning a new skill simply fades away until next New Year. A new hobby? I’m too tired. I don’t have the energy anyway.
But there is a practical solution to the failures of resolutions-past. There is a simple thing you can do that addresses most of the things on your list.
Here’s the pro-tip: Dance.
Wherever you are, just dance. According to the Victoria Australia website, dance has a ton of health benefits:
Improved condition of your heart and lungs
Increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness
Increased aerobic fitness
Improved muscle tone and strength
Stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
Better coordination, agility and flexibility
Improved balance and spatial awareness
Increased physical confidence
Improved mental functioning
Improved general and psychological wellbeing
Greater self-confidence and self-esteem
Better social skills
Be surprised, be amazed, but mostly just be honest. That list of dance benefits looks a lot like your New Year’s resolution list, doesn’t it?
And when people dance, they are far more likely to be consistent in attending and are less likely to drop out. Why? Because dance is done in community. You dance with people. They are counting on you to be there, so you don’t just blow it off. The support of fellow dancers helps you get past the difficult period of starting a physical activity after a long hiatus. When you “don’t have the energy to go,” you are buoyed by communal vitality. And, soon, you find that you do have the energy.
Dancing becomes your fitness regimen, a powerful motivator to address wellness in a holistic way – diet, sleep, ditching bad habits – and it’s something new to learn all at the same time.
And you’re not just thrown into a gym all on your own. Dance instructors teach more than steps and combinations. They help you do it all the right way, lowering your risk of injury, increasing your chance for success, showing you how to make the process your own.
Remember when you were a kid and wanted to dance? Maybe you did, but then set it aside. Maybe you never had support for lessons. Well, here’s the great news of this new trip around the sun: After seeing enough new years come and go, you are the grownup now. You get to decide.
This year resolve to dance. Make the next birthday unforgettable.