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Weather to blame for failed resolutions

(by Stephanie Ip, 24 Hours)


Breaking New Year’s resolutions in Vancouver may have more to do with the weather than simply lack of motivation. While gyms often see a crush of new members in early January, most are gone by February.


“Usually by the third week of January, they’re gone,” said Stacey Kimura, a regular gym member for almost six years.


According to an Angus Reid poll, about 55% of people abandon their resolutions. However, it may not be for lack of discipline, but waning motivation due to dreary weather.


According to Dr. Joti Samra, about 10% of individuals suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a hormone imbalance that lowers people’s spirits and diminishes motivation.


“The amount of light we get … affects energy and mood,” Samra said.


“You want to be warm and comfortable and don’t necessarily want to be out,” she said, explaining why some struggle to leave home for the gym. “You’re more likely to stick to those goals when the weather is better.”


Those who choose hot yoga may fare better. Bikram Yoga Commercial Drive usually sees a 50% membership increase in January, which doesn’t taper off until the spring.


“People come here in the wintertime because it’s a hot class,” said manager Sean Tilley. “We’re definitely busier on rainy days.”


If budding yogis still have a tough time, studio owner and Bikram instructor Christian Betancor Leon recommends focusing on fitness for enjoyment rather than immediate results.


“I’m continuously reminding students to … renew the commitment you’re making to yourself,” he said.


Whether resolutions involve lifting weights or sweating it out on a yoga mat, Samra suggests people set specific, realistic goals instead of big declarations.


“The biggest reason people give up is because they establish resolutions that are way too unrealistic,” she said, recommending the SMART approach: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-limited.


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