Why your New Year’s resolutions don’t really work

The New Year  is coming and everyone is looking forward to the a fresh start. The easiest thing to do is create a resolution that pushes you to a more positive lifestyle going forward. The problem is most people don’t use the right approach when making a new year’s resolution especially when it comes to fitness.

Follow these guidelines for success:

Keep it simple and straightforward

Don’t stretch the resolution beyond your means. If you’re planning on waking up at 4am everyday to go to the gym but sleep late because of other activities, reorganize your calendar and your time.

Involve someone to keep yourself accountable 

If you have no one to keep you accountable (even a coworker is great to use for this), make a contract with yourself and set rules for breaking it. If you set yourself up to have 1 cheat meal a week and you mess up here and there, you might want to consider opening up a ‘cheat bank’ and pay yourself or some organization each time you cheat.

If it involves a habit, take it slow and slowly reprogram your routine to allow the habit change 

Here’s a step wise approach to creating one or making your current one better:

First, create the goal, then make it more SPECIFIC using these guidelines. If it’s not MEASURABLE then it’s probably difficult to determine its ATTAINABILITY since it can’t quite be objectively measured unless it’s a very simple resolution. Making the goal REALISTIC is important because if it sounds too far fetched, you’re probably not going to accomplish it. Lastly, make it TIMELY using a window to accomplish that goal. Use a special event or some meaningful occurrence in your life as a motivator, chronologically.

If you’re looking to lose 50lbs and that’s all you’re hoping to do, you’re not serious enough. Make the goal a SMART goal using the above principles. Here’s a better way to phrase that goal:

-lose 1lbs a week over the year and be about 50lbs by next January 1st.

-Eat 2 vegetables with every meal each day going forward.

-Workout at 7am, 3x a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) for 45 minutes for the next 3 months.

-Add 20lbs to your squat in 6 weeks by training the squat 4x a week and programming it with assistance work.

If you notice in the above examples, the goals are around a particular area, they can be measured objectively, they are realistic in nature and do not sound absurd either and lastly, the goals can be completed in the timeframe provided. The longer the time frame, the better. Sometimes it is best to be more generous with yourself as it can take some time to getting into a particular habit. The plan with the new goal is extremely important. If you plan on waking up at 5am to exercise for the next few months and have always woken up at 7am, there are many things that need to be set in motion:

-Sleeping early

-Preparing for the workout


-Gradually getting to 5am as the wake up time. The first few weeks might be rough.

-Setting an accountability measure or someone to keep you in check

With our online training systems, we guide you in the process of creating goals for yourself that are attainable. Click here to set up SMART goals.

Further reading:

Nir Eyal on developing health habits

Tricks to make habits stick


Habit Creation using an automaticity approach

Breaking existing habits

Published by Shaneh-Abbas @ Myofiber

Registered Kinesiologist Personal Trainer Over 10 years of training experience in a variety of settings. Online trainer since 2017

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