Brent Cook, owner of the Sports Mall and The Gym at City Creek. 

More than half make ‘em, but fewer than 10 percent will keep ‘em. New Year’s resolutions, that is. While the idea of improving yourself for the new year sounds great, the brain very often chooses not to fully cooperate.

Why?

There are a number of theories: One expert suggests the brain is wired for certain behaviors and trying to make changes can be very difficult. Another suggests people set the bar too high and become easily discouraged. Still another suggests people look for quick fixes that don't exist. 

Also, it took time to create the person and it will take more time to reinvent the individual, even if the desire is there.

The top 10 resolutions for 2014 are: Lose weight, get organized, spend less/save more, enjoy life to the fullest, stay fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quit smoking, help others, fall in love and spend more family time. 

Probably one of the hardest resolutions to meet, and typically among the first to go, deals with weight and fitness. 

Brent Cook, owner of the Sports Mall, The Gym at City Creek and Station Park, suggests starting by involving others in the resolution. 

“Get a friend or relative involved. Having someone along when you exercise or plan a menu helps. Even better, get a personal trainer. A trainer can put you on the right track to meet your goals, and making a commitment to be somewhere at a certain time strengthens resolve.’’ 

A personal trainer can also make sure an individual is doing the right exercises and eating the right foods. 

“Put a personal trainer in the equation and that eight percent success rate suddenly jumps up to 65 to 75 percent. It is always more beneficial to get someone who understands the specific requirements of an individual,’’ he notes. 

Every year, weight loss tops the list of resolutions. Too often, however, people set unrealistic goals. They may resolve to lose 20 pounds and after a month or two of no significant change, they give up. A better goal would be to lose a pound a month or 10 pounds in 90 days. 

Cook also points out that technology has made physical activity “much more beneficial and more enjoyable.’’

Gyms, and even some home equipment, have integrated such things as TVs, monitors that take the user on visual trips, such as biking through the Alps or running a race, while working out, and even introduce aromatherapy into workouts. 

“The thing to remember is that workouts need not be painful or boring these days. The key is moderation in everything we do. It makes it much easier to live up to those resolutions if conditions are more enjoyable,’’ Cook says. 

Cook's tips for beating the odds: Set realistic goals, involve a friend or relative, focus on one resolution, start slowly and work up, and make it a year-long process instead of looking for short-term results.