(BPT) - The tradition of new year's resolutions has been around 4,000 years, when Babylonians saw fit to start the year off right by making promises to the gods. Today, such promises are a media phenomenon, designed to be broken.
'One reason most new year's resolutions usually fail before the end of January is because people haven't truly bought into change,' says Bahram Akradi, CEO of Life Time, The Healthy Way of Life Company. 'We can change the course of our lives for the better without the need for a contrived tradition.'
That's why Life Time has launched the Commitment Day movement. By pledging a commitment online at www.commitmentday.com, anyone can join this national movement when hundreds of thousands of people wake up on New Year's Day to participate in a simultaneous walk/run in one of 30 cities nationwide.
Alan Ali, 31, of Raleigh, N.C., will be running with his sister, uncle, and brother-in-law because they've been inspired by Ali, who once weighed 480 pounds and has lost more than 100 pounds over the last three years by eating healthy and exercising. That progress didn't result from a resolution. 'Resolutions never worked for me because at that time in my life I didn't want it bad enough and I wasn't ready to make changes to reach my weight-loss goals,' says Ali. He now prefers to set goals throughout the year, which he says will help him get his weight below 300 pounds by the end of 2013.
'Commitment Day is more than just planning to do the 5K run/walk on January 1st,' Ali says. 'It's about committing to do something and working toward that goal right now. Anyone can say I 'will' do something, but its takes a committed person to put in the time to train for the goal that they set for themselves.'
Carla Birnberg, 43, a personal trainer in Austin, Texas, and fitness blogger is also participating in Commitment Day with her husband and daughter. She says people are eager to make bold changes at new year because the world seems so fraught with possibility. The problem, she adds, is that they don't set themselves up for success. 'Once I realized I'm never as far from my goals/resolutions/aspirations as my very next choice, my life changed,' says Birnberg.
Birnberg, who has a Twitter following of approximately16,000 people, knows a thing or two about how important community can be for reaching fitness goals. 'I'm a firm believer in everything in our lives taking a village, and this virtual village with all its residents, or accountability partners, changes the sense of isolation old school resolutions give,' says Birnberg.
Commitment Day founder, Akradi put it this way: 'Instead of feeling forced to do something you think you must do, now you can make a change for the better because you want to. Instead of feeling isolated with your intentions, now you can be bolstered with the support of people making similar commitments. Instead of starting the new year feeling like you're making sacrifices, now you can start the new year celebrating life.'
After the holiday revelry and the high spirits of the season, why should we follow ancient Babylonian customs that bring an end to the fun with a self-defeating 'promise' in the form of a new year's resolution anyway?
'I've always felt that waking up early on New Year's Day and going out for a run is a far better way to start the year than hungover and sick,' says Jill Ormond Whitaker, 34, a new mom in Las Vegas, who has committed to live a healthy and balanced life and provide a good example for her husband and 3-month-old daughter. 'It just seems to set the tone for the whole year. Commitment Day takes it one step further because it's a national movement.'
To get $5 off the cost of registration for a Commitment Day walk/run use code 'CORP0598' when you sign up.