For some, a new year means a fresh start in Aspen
January 1, 2016
Perhaps you're one of the 38 percent of Americans who never make New Year's resolutions. But if you're among the 45 percent who usually do, the odds of sticking to them aren't in your favor.
According to StatisticBrain.com, 39 percent of people in their 20s fulfill their resolutions; just 14 percent of folks 50 and older can make the same claim.
Mayor Steve Skadron doesn't make personal resolutions for the new year, but he made one for Aspen, and it's not a matter of public policy.
"My resolution is for a healthy and playful community where everybody is happy and the snow is fluffy," he declared.
But when it comes to our personal resolutions, self-improvement can come in many forms — save money, spend less; drink less, exercise more; lose weight, gain a lover. Aspen, home to seven pot shops and six liquor stores, also boasts dozens of health clubs, workout gyms, yoga studios and personal trainers, along with a robust network of cross-country skiing and hiking trails that can get the lungs burning.
Jean-Robert Barbette, owner of Aspen's oldest fitness club — Jean-Robert's Gym — for 26 years, said he'll generally see a surge in new memberships two weeks before the new year arrives.
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"We just don't care about selling you a membership," he said. "We're very big on personal training."
Personal trainers can serve as a solid support system for someone seeking a healthy change, he said.
"When you spend money on a personal trainer, you're more conscious of what you're eating," Barbette said. "There are many distractions in Aspen. It's tough to go out on your own."
Indeed, Aspen's party scene can be a health deterrent in a town equally known for its high level of fitness.
In 2014, Aspen liquor and cannabis dispensaries combined for $13.4 million in sales; sports equipment and clothing rang up $46.1 million, according to city finance records.
Barbette said the common denominator among newcomers to the gym is sticking with it through the winter and offseason before taking off for vacation.
"Then they go back on it, then there's Fourth of July, and then travel in the summer," he said. "I would say the first three or four months they will keep up with it."
The American Psychological Association offers tips for sticking to your New Year's resolutions. "It is important to remember that the new year isn't meant to serve as a catalyst for sweeping character changes," its website says. "It is a time for people to reflect on their past year's behavior and promise to make positive lifestyle changes."
Among the association's suggestions: start small, change one behavior at a time, talk about it, don't beat yourself up and ask for support.