Pets Could Help Us Keep Our New Year’s Resolutions

by Bonney Brown

The latest feline internet sensation, Henri Le Chat Noir, had something to say about New Year’s Resolutions on his website:  “My resolution is to continue to lend zero credence to contrived attempts at self-betterment.”

Henri tends to be pessimistic, but in this case he is not far off. 88 percent of people who make resolutions give up on them, most within one month.

But I have a suggestion that can help you make your New Year’s Resolutions stick this year: partner with your pets. Studies show that people who partner with someone else on a goal are much more likely to succeed. The idea is that when you forget or don’t quite feel like it, your partner will remind you or inspire you to action. Your pet could be just the partner you need.

The top resolution for 2013 is losing weight and developing a healthier lifestyle. Your dog is the ideal partner for this goal because he or she will happily remind you to get out there to walk or run if you just get them used to a routine. If you are more of a cat person, consider yoga—cats are natural yogis.

Saving money is a popular goal this year too. Your pet does not need dinner at a fancy restaurant or expensive gifts to adore you. They offer both companionship and entertainment at bargain prices.

Enjoying life more is also high on the list of top resolutions this year. Just being with your animal friend can lower your blood pressure.  Their antics bring humor to the day and they live in the moment as only the most disciplined of Zen masters can.

Perhaps you don’t have a pet. In that case, volunteering to help animals in a shelter can help you achieve two resolutions at once. Take dogs for walks or share a little love and playtime with a cat and you can reap the same benefits of pet ownership while getting the added bonus of your altruistic action. (Volunteering to help others is another common New Year’s goal.)

So, as you are contemplating how you will keep your New Year’s Resolutions this year, take another look at your animal companions for inspiration.

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