4 Steps to Making New Year Resolutions that Stick

Working in the fitness industry is incredibly rewarding. Every day, I get to help my clients make and work towards new goals. Today, I want to help You in the same way by addressing something we’ve all done:

Making New Years resolutions we don’t keep!

When the new year rolls around, I talk to a lot of people who want to make fitness and health their focus for their resolution. This is an amazingly awesome idea! You can never be too healthy, too strong, or in too good of health. So how can we stick with this great goal, and reduce the chance that we’ll let out health fall by the wayside?

1. Set Realistic & Concrete Goals.

Have you ever said this to yourself? “I’m going to exercise more”

Did it really work? For most people, the answer is “no”. Why? Because even though that statement has the right intent, it doesn’t have the right plan. What we need is both! You need objectives that are Measurable and Achievable. I want you to set three kinds of goals this year:

Macro: A goal for the whole year, that should be reasonable for 12 months of effort. Example:

  • Finish a marathon (40 km)

Meso: A goal that takes about 3 months to accomplish. Meso Goals should build on one another, leading to the Macro Goal. Our marathon example might look like:

  • Finish a 5 km race by March 31st
  • Finish a 10 km race by June 30th
  • Finish a 20 km race by September 30th

Micro: A monthly goal. Micro Goals should work towards Meso Goals in increments. Something like:

  • Jan: Jog at least 1.5 km per day, 3 days per week
  • Feb: Jog at least 2 km per day, 3 days per week
  • Mar: Jog at least 3 km per day, 3 days per week; Finish 5k race

You should be able to measure how much work you put in for every level and know when you are (or aren’t) meeting progressing. Remove the vagueness, and you create a clear path to success.

2. Excuses, uh, What Are They Good For? Absolutely nothin’!

Have you ever told yourself: “I’ll do it tomorrow”, and then when tomorrow rolls around it doesn’t get done? Me too! Sometimes things aren’t fun and we don’t want to do them, and that’s ok! The trick is to hold yourself accountable for doing them anyway! A lot of the time we make excuses because we have Negative Self Talk (NST) going on in our heads that make us procrastinate.

The solution is actually pretty simple: every time you find yourself giving in to NST, immediately hit back with Positive Self Talk! Here’s a good one for beating the “tomorrow” excuse:

I don’t procrastinate things that need to get done.

The important thing is being Concrete, just like with our goals. Use absolute verbs like we did above, and you’ll build supportive habits while reducing the instances of negative ones.

In the same vein, don’t let other people procrastinate for you! If you have an emergency, you might need to put something off, but otherwise stick to your commitments!

3. Hard Work Gets Great Results

“Nothing in life is free.”

There are few places where that quote is more applicable than with your health and fitness. Remember, there is no Magic Bean or shortcut – real results come from putting in real work. This is the step where we banish the word that as a trainer, I don’t let my clients say: Can’t.

That’s right, saying you “can’t do” whatever we’re talking about just doesn’t fly with me. You shouldn’t let it stand with yourself either! How do we counter the dreaded “Can’t”? Positive Self Talk, of course! Here’s one for you:

I work hard towards my goals, without giving up, especially when it seems outside my abilities.

4. Use Your Support Network

Never underestimate the effect that your friends, family, co-workers, or workout buddies have on you. This includes your ability to stick with a health resolution, make it to the gym, and motivate yourself to new and loftier goals. Try to surround yourself on a frequent basis with supportive people who help you believe in yourself. Don’t listen to the “negative nellies” that try to make you put off working out or who tell you you “can’t” do something. A lot of them are just negative towards you because of their own internal NST. Always counter with your Positive Self Talk, and let that be the last thing you hear on subject.