Better with a Buddy: How Pets Improve New Year’s Resolutions
Experts tell us that an awful lot of New Year’s resolutions fail. (In the ballpark of 92%.) They go on to say most resolutions fail because they’re not specific enough: One resolves to eat less, but doesn’t give himself a calorie count; another resolves to run more, but doesn’t have a minute-mile in mind.
Keeping your goals specific this year is good advice, but it’s hardly the whole story for successful resolution. The fact is, our resolutions are just as likely to fail if they’re not broad enough. Sure, you can try to force a change in your lifestyle by taking a deep breath and shelling out for a non-refundable gym membership, but you still haven’t answered the question of how you’re going to drop everything and report to the treadmills every day. Who’s doing the grocery shopping on Wednesday nights? And who’s letting Ruby out while you’re at the gym?
Like kids, pets make an excellent reality check, so considering their needs when you make your 2017 resolutions can be the first step to making a commitment that results in a lasting change. Below are a few pet-inclusive ideas and activities meant to enrich the 2017 New Year’s resolutions you’ve already made - brought to you by your friends at Invisible Fence® Brand.
- Staying in touch. Ok, it may be a hard sell with an estranged sibling, but when all you need is an icebreaker, a playdate with your furry friends can be the perfect way to get back into the swing of things with one of your besties. If you’ve got the means, introductory agility or dog sports classes are gaining in popularity and may make a fun surprise for all involved.
- Making new friends. Time with friends reduces the likelihood of depression in humans . . . and seasonal affective disorder in dogs. Set up a weekly regime at a local dog park. Besides making an excellent rendevous point for playdates, consistent trips to the park can be a great way to build community - human and canine alike.
- Stressing less. Yes, your dog can add torque to the stress vortex when you’re multi-tasking, but when you slow down long to see what she’s up to, nobody calms your nerves like her. Resolve to unwind from your daily commute with some nose-to-snout time. Pratices like this can put a healthy cap on your bouts of stress, and can have a great effect on your diet, heart rate and sleep patterns.
- Staying up on current events. Has a rowdy election year put you back in touch with your inner citizen? Before you have a magazine or newspaper delivered to your house, consider if the newsstand price wouldn’t be offset by the fact that it gives you and your pup a tangible goal on your morning walks.
- Volunteering. Shelters have a big job getting orphaned pets socialized and ready for adoption. If you’re considering volunteering some of your time this year, look into opportunities at a local shelter - roles like dog walker or youth camp volunteer and can tie in nicely with your other resolutions. And if you’re considering adding a second pet to your family this year, volunteering your home for animal foster care can be a rewarding challenge for the whole family.
- Getting outside. When the weather breaks, we’ve got three words for you: outdoor grocery shopping. Farmer’s markets can hit a couple New Year’s resolutions at once: Not only can you walk the dog while accomplishing a major errand, but the focused local inventory puts healthy ingredients at your fingertips with less temptation from the candy-bar rack.
- Quitting. Surely canines can’t help with nicotine? Well, that depends on how much of a kick you get out of spoiling him! Estimates value your pack-a-day cigarette habit anywhere from $2,000 to $8,000 per year. With every carton you skip, throw a little dog-indulging party with the extra cash. The more he begins to anticipate your little outings, the more incentive you’ll have to kick the habit. A similar routine could work just as well with paying down debts. (Thanks to dogster.com for the great idea!)
Barely half of all resolution-makers make it a week. And don’t even ask how many last till April. But that’s human nature for you. Thankfully, we pet people have a second nature standing by waiting to help . . . and she’s got a leash in her mouth.
Tags: Behavior, Home, Indoor, New Year, Outdoor, Pets, Solutions, Training and Behavior, Winter