Every year, losing weight, getting fit, and eating a healthy diet compete for the #1 spot on Americans’ lists of New Year’s resolutions. By some estimates, 50 percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, but only 8 percent actually achieve them.

What’s the reason for this low success rate? Many people set lofty goals without actually formulating a plan for how they can realistically achieve their resolutions — and then blame their own lack of willpower when they fall short.

But when it comes to health goals, willpower alone isn’t enough. Goals related to weight, fitness, and overall wellness are dependent on a wide variety of factors. How can you be sure you’re eating the right diet? Which exercises will give you the best results? We know that works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. Relying on a trial-and-error approach typically only leads to frustration and causes people to give up when they don’t see results.

Research has shown that hundreds of genetic variants influence how our bodies work, including how we process different foods and respond to different types of exercise. Understanding exactly how your body works is the key to making significant, lasting changes, whether your primary goal is to lose weight, improve your overall fitness, or live longer.

Below are the three most common New Year’s Resolutions — along with information on how your personalized genetic report can help you achieve them.

1. Exercise more

We all know that exercise is good for us, but it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to go for a run or hit the gym — especially if it feels like we’re putting in a lot of work and not seeing any results.

Understanding what type of exercises work best for your body can help you focus your time and energy on the activities that produce the best results. Numerous genetic variants affect how your body uses and stores energy (i.e. fat), meaning that if your goal is to burn fat, you need to know how your body responds to different types of activities.

For example, some people experience enhanced benefits from endurance training. White women who carry a genetic variant known as the X447 allele lost more body fat and lowered their BMI more than non-carriers following a 20-week endurance training program. And black women with the same genetic variant lost more abdominal visceral fat. The same results were not observed in men.

And although strength training is generally recognized as beneficial for both building muscle and losing weight, college-aged men who possess a certain variant of the INSIG2 gene have actually been shown to gain fat volume following a 12-week strength training program. Resistance training was therefore less beneficial for these men in terms of fat loss (but still recommended for overall health benefits).

These are just some examples of how understanding your individual genotype can help you develop a workout regimen built around your goals and unique genetic traits.

2. Lose weight

In a recent Gallup poll, nearly half of Americans surveyed said they wanted to lose weight. But with all of the conflicting information available on the best approach to weight-loss, it’s no wonder that it’s difficult for many people. Conventional nutritional wisdom tells us that weight is simply a matter of how many calories we take in versus how many calories we burn. But it isn’t always that simple. Every day, complex processes occur throughout our bodies that can affect our weight — influencing whether we are likely to lose it, gain it, or even regain it after we’ve lost it.

For example, hormone imbalances can increase our appetite and cause us to overeat, even if we aren’t physically hungry. One variant of the FTO gene leads to higher levels of ghrelin, a hormone that triggers feelings of hunger. Twenty-two percent of the population carries a genetic variant that increases appetite and makes them more prone to snacking. And as much as 85 percent of the general population carries a variant of a gene that makes them less efficient at burning fat and using glucose, putting them at an increased risk of obesity and diabetes.

Arming yourself with your personalized genetic information is essential to adopting the right healthy habits that will address your body’s unique needs and challenges.

3. Eat a healthy diet

Do you find it hard to stick to a healthy diet … because you’re not really sure what that means? Even among health professionals, there’s a lot of confusion about what to eat, and for good reason. Typically when researchers conduct medical studies, they look at the average data and disregard the outliers. But depending on who’s participating in the study, that average data might not apply to everyone.

For example, medical studies in the past have typically used white males. But we know now that men, women, and people of different ethnic backgrounds all have genetic differences that influence their results. For example, a genetic variant that increases the risk of obesity in caucasians doesn’t appear to affect people of Asian or African descent. Only when we take these genetic differences into account can we truly begin to understand what’s “healthy” for each individual.

That means there’s no one diet that works for everyone. So while your coworker may thrive on a low-fat diet, you may be more suited to one that’s more balanced. We’ve identified 4 healthy diet types that people fall into based on a variety of genetic factors: low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean, and balanced. Understanding your own ideal diet type is essential if you want to feel your best, increase energy, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent disease.

We analyze more than 80 different genetic markers to determine how your body works. Your individual genetic report from Vivaliti DNA will reveal which diet type is right for you, along with vital information such as:

  • A list of your preferred foods
  • Information on which types of dietary fats are more likely to impact your weight
  • Eating behaviors that may be influenced by your genetics
  • Nutritional deficiencies you may be at risk of
  • Insight on how your body responds to caffeine, bitter foods, lactose, and alcohol
  • How likely you are to store excess fat
  • And more

Taking a more proactive approach to health

If this all sounds confusing or overwhelming, don’t worry. Our program is designed to help you make small changes toward building healthy habits. When it comes to achieving large goals, small, incremental changes are often more successful in creating lasting change.

You also have the option of ordering your genetic blueprint, which provides simple, actionable steps that you can put to use immediately, including which supplements are most beneficial for you, how many servings of different nutrients you should aim for each day, your recommended activity level, and ideal water intake.

Your genetic blueprint completely takes the guesswork out of what to eat, what supplements to take, and what activity level to aim for.