New Years Resolutions with Your Dog

Including pets in your 2015 goals.
By JoAnna Lou, December 2014
According to a study conducted by the University of Scranton, less than half of people who make a New Years resolution still practice it six months later. And only eight percent actually achieve their goal. There are many best practices for increasing the chances you'll stick with your plan, such as making the resolution specific (saying that you'll go to the gym three times a week instead of vaguely saying you'll work out more), being realistic about what you can achieve, and holding yourself accountable (telling someone or posting updates to a social media site). Involving a friend is also helpful, and that doesn't just include human buddies.

For the past few months, I've been training for a half marathon in January, but after the race is over I know my motivation to keep exercising regularly will quickly wane. So this year my goal is to do something active twice a week--with my Border Collie, Scuttle. It's a specific resolution with some built-in flexibility (the activity could be agility, hiking, running, or even kayaking). I didn't pick it for this reason, but the resolution should actually get easier around the six month mark, as the weather gets warmer and there are more activity options for us to do together (convenient!).

Here are some other ideas as you think about including your dog in this year's goal:

  • Make television time more productive by adding some dog training (shape a new behavior during commercial breaks)
  • Try four new things this year that include your pup
  • Meet new friends (join a dog-related Meetup group or pet dating site)
  • Cook or bake more (make a recipe that both you and your pup can enjoy!)
Will you incorporate your dog into this year's resolution? 

JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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