MORRIS – A new year means a new lifestyle for thousands of Americans committed to making New Year’s resolutions.
In 2014, 44 percent of Americans are expected to make resolutions, according to a Marist Poll. While a comparatively small percentage of Americans actually follow through with those self-made promises, Grundy County residents have several local resources available to help them stick with theirs.
For the new year, 12 percent of resolution makers want to exercise more, 12 percent want to spend less and 8 percent want to quit smoking. This is a shift from last year, when 17 percent resolved to lose weight, 9 percent to spend less and 13 percent to quit smoking, according to the Marist Poll, which can be found at maristpoll.marist.edu. The Marist Institute for Public Opinion is a survey research center.
“I think people are more aware of the current economic situation so they’re paying more mind to budgeting,” said Sheryl Annen, personal banker at Morris Bank and Loan.
Annen said those resolved to have better finances this year should start by reviewing their spending habits and creating a list of necessary expenditures.
“Take a breakdown from the previous year or two and determine what your regular financial items are per month and then make a plan,” she said. “Then, put away a small dollar amount, I usually recommend about 6 percent or more, for emergencies and savings.”
Annen also suggested seeking the help of a local banker who could work with a person to develop a detailed budget. The Grundy County Health Department also is working on offering classes to help people with shopping on a budget, said Philip Jass, public health administrator of the health department.
“The beginning of the year is a good time to get your finances in order,” Annen said.
Jan. 1 also is a good time to begin losing weight gained over the holiday season, said Joe Spiker, personal fitness trainer at Morris Athletic Club, 425 E. Route 6, Suite E, in Morris.
“I think the New Year’s resolution is a little outdated,” Spiker said. “Mostly, we see people trying to lose holiday weight.”
Regardless of why they come, customers flock to the club from January through February, he said.
“We get really busy this time of year,” Spiker said. “The main thing I tell people is to get help in the beginning, when they need it. Otherwise, it’s like trying to take a test without ever going to class.”
Most local fitness centers have personal trainers on staff to help people reach their goals.
The clubs also incentivize membership this time of year. Spiker said people can enroll at Morris Athletic Club for free throughout the month of January. Get Fit 24/7 Fitness, 110 E. Waverly St. in Morris, offers a reduced year-long membership, and a 24/7 access card for $299 throughout the month of January. In addition, Curves of Morris, 1802 N. Division St. Suite 703, will offer one free week for new members.
Morris Hospital also offers low-cost and free diet and health management classes that work with people over an extended period of time.
“If you really want it, you can do it, it really is a mindset,” said Jody Cannon, owner of Curves of Morris. “That’s what we’re here for – to help you keep that goal.”
Smokers looking to kick the habit this year will find help at the Grundy County Health Department, which will offer a program starting Jan. 21, Jass said.
The classes will be offered once a week for eight weeks and each will be one and a half hours long.
“There’s a workbook assigned with the class that gives you helpful tips and mechanisms to get rid of triggers,” Jass said. “There is also positive reinforcement when you are succeeding.”
Jass said in general, it’s better to work to achieve a goal a little at a time.
“You need to set a series of short goals throughout the year,” Jass said. “That’s more manageable than setting one major goal with no idea how to get there.”