How to Set (and Stick to!) a New Year’s Fitness Resolution



The clock strikes midnight and a new year begins. The atmosphere is cheerful as you watch the ball drop in Times Square from the comfort of your living room and you clink your champagne glass with loved ones to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne” in the background. But in the back of your head, something is amiss. Here you are, yet again dismayed with your failure at achieving your fitness goals. You know, the ones you set last year and vowed to stick to after feeling bloated and guilty from all the sweets and treats you consumed over the holidays? Part of you wants to try again, but what makes you think this year will be any different?

I know how discouraging it can be to focus on your fitness when your efforts always seem to end in failure. But if this is the case for you, then it’s time to reevaluate your fitness resolution. It is possible to stick with your New Year’s resolution into the next year, but you need to set practical goals and be truly committed to them if you want them to work out. My advice is to start small and build your way up. It’s good to challenge yourself, but don’t bite off more than you can chew.

The truth of the matter is that, according to research from the University of Scranton, only 8% of people accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. Most people will start putting their fitness goals into action after the holidays only to completely abandon them by Easter. Here are a few tips to make your fitness a priority all year long:

Have a plan

The first step to any goal, not just a fitness goal, is to have a plan of action. You’ll never motivate yourself to work out if you don’t make an active commitment to fit it into your lifestyle. So, before aimlessly heading to the gym, ask yourself these questions: 1)When will you exercise? 2)What kind of exercise will you do? And 3) How much time will you spend exercising?

Write it down

I find that it always helps to write things down. This goes with working out too. Of course, the physical movements of working out are most important, but if you write yourself a reminder to workout and stick it somewhere you will see every morning, then you’ll be more likely to follow through. Whether this means writing a workout plan into a daily to-do list or just scrawling it on a post-it note, remind yourself that it’s important you meet the recommended 30 minutes of daily moderate to intense physical activity, whatever it is you do to get there.

Recruit a buddy

For most people, working out is not exactly the most fun activity. Sure, some people love it, but for most it’s a necessary evil. Why not make working out a little easier by setting a joint fitness goal with a friend who can also serve as your accountability partner? Find an exercise that you both enjoy and motivate each other!

Start small

This is key. Never take on more than you can manage to avoid injury. If you try to take on too much, you’ll also be much more likely to give up on your fitness goals. Start with an exercise regimen that you know you can handle, and don’t compare yourself to others. You may see some people at the gym who are exercising at a much higher intensity, and that’s okay. They are probably more experienced than you and you can gradually work your way up to more vigorous activity.

Be practical

This goes along with starting out small, but you also need to have realistic expectations when planning your goals. For instance, a goal to run a marathon within a few months may not be practical if you’ve never trained for one before, but a goal to lose ten pounds by Easter (if you’re actively dieting and working out) probably is. Know what you’re capable of and go from there. Don’t get discouraged.

Work fitness into your schedule

Lastly, we all lead busy lives and it’s easy for fitness to take a back seat to our other responsibilities. We tend to prioritize what’s most pressing in the moment, such as work and household duties, and let fitness fall to the wayside. Surely though, if you plan for it and make fitness part of your daily routine, you have 30 minutes to spare. Instead of sleeping in an extra half hour or watching a mindless reality show after work, that time could be spent engaging in physical activity. It’s important to balance working out with relaxation, but you will have a much greater chance of long-term success if you work fitness into your daily schedule. Put it on your calendar, download a fitness tracker app, or sign up for a class- whatever you need to do to stay motivated!

If you truly want to make fitness a priority and you follow these tips, then you should be primed for success. Don’t let another year end in failure. Most importantly, don’t give up!