Resolutions can be heavy work
It's that time of year when we all resolve to lead better lives - and gyms, dieting centres and Quitline are all feeling the weight of those good intentions.
Jon Tweed, 17, hit his local gym, CityFitness in Thorndon Quay, with friend Rob Cartwright yesterday morning for weight training, a first step on his resolution to lose a couple of kilograms and replace it with muscle.
CityFitness personal trainer Carl Hammington has been helping people stick to their resolutions for 10 years, and says the peak time for signing up new gym members is yet to come, once people return from their holidays.
He warned that people too often tried to take on too many resolutions at once - to quit smoking, stop drinking and lose weight all at the same time. "It's just small changes that make the biggest difference. It's tough to overhaul your whole life."
However, he admitted he was not taking his own advice, having set some ambitious goals for 2013, including walking the Milford Track, training to climb in the Himalayas, and completing the Spartan Death Race, an American endurance event known as one of the toughest in the world.
Quitline had an extremely busy New Year's Day, with extra staffing needed to cope with the increased numbers of calls from people determined to stop smoking as the excise duty on tobacco went up by 10 per cent.
On the first day of 2013 there were 261 calls to the service, one-third more than on the same day last year. Quitline director of strategy and communications Bruce Bassett said "resolution season" was always a busy time for them, and the tax rise gave people even more incentive to quit.
Increased staff levels would remain until February to ensure the service covered the registration and support of all those wanting to kick the tobacco habit in the new year.
He said quitting smoking involved more than the breaking of the physical addiction, with day-to-day habits, lifestyle and social factors all needing to be tackled.
"Some people find the first few days the hardest, that's where you're dealing with the habitual and the chemical addiction.
"After a few days the nicotine addiction lessens a wee bit but you're still conditioned to want nicotine - people identify themselves as smokers so when then they're not smokers they don't quite know what to do with themselves.
"The process is difficult, and remains difficult, but does get better over time. And the people who are the most successful are the ones who prepare most."
Personal trainer Carl Hammington had this advice for people wanting to keep their newly made goals:
Stock up on support: Building a supportive community of people with similar goals that you can turn to when your motivation is down is one of the best ways to help.
Bite-sized bits: Break your goal down into long, medium and short-term steps.
Make it manageable: Aim too high and you'll practically assure yourself of failure.
Common calculations: Try to make regular assessments of how you are tracking.
The Dominion Post