Even the ancient Babylonians had New Year’s resolutions.
Since the beginning of time, humans have used the mark of a new calendar year to assess their current station in life, and make goals that they can measure and (hopefully) achieve over the course of the next year.
But as anybody who has added “lose five pounds” or “get in shape” to their list of resolutions knows, the trick is not making these promises.
It’s keeping them.
More: 3 Ways to Stick to Your Running Resolution
Luckily, there is one secret weapon to launch people on the right path to achieving their fitness goals: a resolution run.
Here are the top five reasons you should sign up for a resolution run. The decision can help you improve your health, boost your fitness, and make 2013 the best year of your life.
1. Start the Year Off on the Right Foot
As Mark Twain once said: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” But how do you get started on something as big and overwhelming as making healthier choices?
According to Karen Jayne Leinberger of Life Time Fitness, the key is building momentum. And there’s no better way to do that than to sign up for a race.
“It’s not really about the resolution. It’s a commitment. [A Resolution Run] kinda grabs the bull by the horns and says, ‘It’s a new year. I’m gonna get out there and start something!’ It gives people something to do to start the movement toward a better tomorrow,” says Leinberger.
And Leinburger’s organization is putting their money where their running shoe is. Life Time Fitness is the brains behind Commitment Day, a race series in select U.S. cities that takes place on January 1, 2013, that inspires people to live healthier lifestyles. (For more information check out: CommitmentDay.com)
More: How to Set Your Running Resolution
2. Build Your Commitment Muscle By Going After Your Goals Systematically
Sadly, according to Cone Health, more than 60 percent of all resolutions are broken by June of that year.
According to Leinberger, the key is to set smaller goals that lead to your larger resolution. Making the commitment to participate in a Resolution Run is a great place to start, she tells runners, because it gives people something specific to plan for. Once you’ve met that first small goal, it will be easier to make the commitment to carry on toward your larger resolution.
“It may start with a 5K on 1-1-13,” Leinberger says, “but really the finish line of that 5K is the start to a movement around health, nutrition and wellness.”
3. Build Your Social Circle
Running can be a great way to build and maintain relationships. To tackle her goal of staying in shape, Leinberger finds a running buddy to help stay motivated, and avoid slacking off when the urge to ditch a workout creeps up.
“It makes running a social thing,” she says. “When you publicly proclaim your goals to others, other people are gonna hold you accountable.”
4. You’ll Set a Great Example for Your Kids
According to Leinberger, this generation of children may be the first whose life expectancy is less than their parents.
“Such a large number of kids spend as much as 30 percent of their day in front of a screen,” she says. “Kids don’t always listen to their parents, but they definitely learn from their parents and their behaviors,” she adds. “By eating right and exercising, a parent can help their child get out there and get moving.”
A Resolution Run will help you find a healthy lifestyle path for the next year, and will inspire and motivate your children to follow you on your journey.
More: Set Goals, Not Resolutions
5. Enjoy Holiday Feasts—Guilt Free!
The average holiday meal can hold upwards of 3,000 calories. While you’d have to run a marathon to burn that many calories at one time, there are ways to curb the guilt you are bound to feel as you push away from the table.
A Resolution Run will force you to begin working toward your resolution before the new year has even arrived. Working up a sweat on your training runs can enable you to sit down to holiday feasts in a caloric deficit, and, as long as you don’t overdo it at the table, can ensure that you don’t add unwanted pounds to your waistline.
Holiday feasts are meant to be enjoyed, and a Resolution Run can help you do it. And who knows, you just might learn healthy habits that you can keep for the rest of your life.
More: 6 Tips for Turning Your Resolution Into Reality
Sign up for your next race.