November 22, 2017
As a proud member of the Life Time – Healthy Way of Life™ family, we’re thrilled to share a glimpse into the origins and evolution of a signature experience that embodies our shared mission.
On January 1, 2013, Life Time – Healthy Way of Life™ hosted a series of simultaneous 5K’s in major markets across the country, as part of a new initiative called Commitment Day. The idea was to encourage people to commit to living a healthier way of life, and focusing on family, friends, finances and our planet—and to mark that commitment through the act of participating. Life Time founder and Chief Executive Officer Bahram Akradi introduced the inaugural event saying, “Commitment Day is about Americans committing to healthy, active lifestyles for themselves and their families…it will be a day of epic proportions as individuals join together in support of healthy people, a healthy planet and a healthy way of life. At a time when our nation is at a breaking point with ever rising obesity rates, a generation of children facing serious health consequences, escalating healthcare costs and controllable diseases spiraling out of control, the time for us to take action is now.”
Akradi was sharing a startling truth; in 2012 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had released a five hundred and five page report on the state of health in America. While the report showed glimmers of progress (cigarette smoking decreased notably in people under the age of 18), it documented a sharp decline in the overall health and wellness of American citizens across the board. Heart disease, stroke and diabetes were among the leading causes of death, and adolescent and adult obesity rates were as high as they had ever been. It truly was time to usher in a new way of life, and when better to begin than in the New Year.
The mission of that first Commitment Day to the upcoming Commitment Day on Jan. 1, 2018 at 40 Life Time destinations across the country hasn’t changed, aiming to revolutionize the way Americans resolve to get healthy each New Year; instead of making a resolution that lasts just through the month of January, one truly can commit to creating life-long healthy habits. Making resolutions has long-proven to be a fickle business; according to the University of Scranton, only 8% of Americans keep the New Year’s resolutions they make throughout the entire year. It is worth noting that this number has not changed over the years (indeed, those familiar with Commitment Day may have seen it before) because time and time again, Americans struggle to maintain the resolutions they set at the dawn of the New Year. Making a greater, positive impact on the nation’s health starts with reframing the way we approach something as commonplace as New Year’s resolutions. Semantics are important; swapping the language of the overarching and under-achieved “resolution” to a strong “commitment” to our health aptly demonstrates how change begins on the smallest, most tangible level, and grows from there.
This year, nearly six years after Commitment Day’s inauguration, the commitment to our health is more important than ever. Our population continues to grow more overweight each year, annual costs to treat cancers associated with obesity, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes are skyrocketing at $325 billion per year and are estimated to reach $4.2 trillion if we continue on this trajectory of unhealthy living. The scope of the problem is immense, no doubt, but the solution is accessible by way of small commitments to ourselves. While the frenzy surrounding resolutions to “diet,” to “budget,” or “work-out” make for a tempting bandwagon to jump on, they may feel too broad in one’s own life, perhaps not genuine or meaningful enough to keep throughout the year.
With innumerable media outlets sharing their lists of the 10 Best New Year’s Resolutions, it can feel as though a one-size-fits-all approach will fix everything for everyone. The difference between resolutions and commitments is that commitments can be deeply personal and specific to our own, individual lifestyles. And, the best way to find success in our commitments is to make them personal to us, our lives, and our goals. It is an exercise in mindfulness; if we take a moment to tune out all the noise and reflect on what’s most important to us—maybe by journaling or speaking with people closest to us—we may find that our commitments are much more meaningful and therefore, worth working to keep throughout the whole year, and beyond.
The Commitment Day 5K on January 1, 2018 serves as an opportunity to kick-off a New Year, with a new mindset in the company of thousands of others who are doing the same. While our commitments may vary greatly from one person to another, joining together with one, unified fun run symbolizes the ways in which we can continue to support one another, and the ways in which Life Time can support us all in finding a healthy way of life. And, as a subsidiary of Life Time, Athlinks offers athletes an online destination to memorialize their Commitment Day experience by showcasing the January 1 result on their profile. Many of the club events are already featured on Athlinks, so add yourself to a Start List to show your commitment today!
For the first time with the 2018 event, Commitment Day will continue long after New Year’s Day. Life Time destinations will offer programming throughout the month of January to help us “commit to fit.” Every week in January will be dedicated to a week-long intensive in Yoga (Jan 1 through 6), Studio (Jan. 8 through 13), Cycle (Jan 15 through 20) and Training (Jan 22 through 27). And, making a January return, the very popular Indoor Triathlon will return to 40 clubs around the country on January 21, and those results will also be available at Athlinks.
Whether or not you can make Commitment Day this year, remember that there is no such thing as 100% perfection. While you continue to hold yourself accountable and track your progress, take time to practice gratitude for how far you have already come, just by making a commitment to yourself, and to motivate others for doing the same. You can also discover new events and races to challenge yourself through the Athlinks website or mobile app, and track your progress from Commitment Day. One commitment, one step—no matter how small they may seem—create massive change in the world, for the better. See you at the starting line, January 1st, at the Life Time destination nearest you!
For more information and to register, please visit www.CommitmentDay.com.