Beyond Quitter’s Day: A Fitness Expert’s Guide to New Year’s Resolution Success
January 17, 2024
The new year is the perfect time for a fresh start – to change harmful habits and establish new routines. For decades, people have looked at the month of January as a moment to kickstart health and fitness goals and set resolutions.
Why do we make resolutions? Studies have shown that the idea of a “fresh start” can motivate aspirational behaviors. The new year feels like a new beginning, so people set goals. While sometimes these goals can present opportunities to overcome hurdles with willpower and determination – oftentimes, these resolutions are too lofty. Did you know that National Ditch Your Resolution Day is January 17, when typically 80% of people have given up on their resolutions altogether? With the right approach to your goals, you don’t have to become a statistic this year!
On the Consumer Lifestyle and Sports team at Finn Partners, I assist with media relations and communications strategies specifically for clients in the active lifestyle and wellness categories, so as part of my job, I’ve seen my fair share of tips and trends on social media and in the news while monitoring cultural conversations.
As a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), soon-to-be certified run coach with the United Endurance Sports Coaching Academy (UESCA), and lover of knowledge and learning (thanks to clients like Life Time), I am here to guide you.
Here are some tips on how to renew your resolutions and make them stick in 2024 and beyond:
- Start small: Taking on too much is the biggest reason most fail within the first few weeks. Start small. If your goal is to run a half marathon in 2024, don’t start with “run 5 miles every morning.” Try run/walk intervals.
- Limit your goals: While you may have a laundry list of resolutions and things you want to change, pick one or two and focus your energy on those – rather than spreading yourself too thin. Even one small goal can boost your self-confidence.
- Be specific about your resolutions: Most adults resolve to “get in shape” in the new year, which is way too ambiguous. Focus on more concrete and specific goals, also known as SMART goals, that you can realistically achieve like “workout two days a week for 20 minutes” rather than “workout more.”
- Put time into planning: Consider how you will tackle your resolution, what steps you can take, why you want to complete this goal, ways to keep yourself on track, and most importantly, what tactics you will use when you’re faced with challenges, obstacles, or resistance.
- Find support: A solid support system will help you stay motivated and accountable. Whether it’s someone to work towards the same goal alongside you, or someone to simply share your resolution with so they can support your journey.
Now that your goals are renewed and you’ve successfully avoided “Quitter’s Day” on January 17, don’t forget to renew your resolutions every so often.
At times, you will feel confident and motivated to reach your goal(s) when there isn’t any discomfort or resistance associated with changing your behavior. After some tough days, your motivation may start to dwindle. When faced with these moments, remind yourself why you’re doing this.
And remember: be patient with yourself. Those habits or aspects of your life that you’re trying to change most likely took years to develop, so how can you expect to change them in just a matter of days or weeks?
Encountering a setback or a dip in motivation are the most common reasons why people give up on their resolutions. But don’t view these as a failure. With inevitable challenges along the way, the path toward your goal is not always a straight one!