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  • Derek

Shift Gears on your New Year's Resolutions

I'm not a new year's resolution guy. I have a few reasons I'm not big on them;

1) It puts things off until "later". We're good at this in our modern society. And honestly, we need to stop being so good at putting things off until "later". We put things off until tomorrow, next week or even next month and it often, doesn't come / happen because of it. I've seen it with clients over the years, and experienced it myself where we think (subconciously I guess) that tomorrow, next week or sometime later, that it will be a "better" time to start whatever goal we are setting out to do.

"As of next week, I'm off alcohol..."

"In the new year, I'm going to the gym every day..."

"Tomorrow I'll start walking at least 2-miles in the morning before work..."

"Starting in January I'm going to exercise and eat right..."

2) Year after year, statistics work against us in regards to setting new years resolutions - yet we keep doing it. Again, to each their own. Hey, if you're reading this post and already thinking "well I achieve my resolutions every year without fail" then good for you! You can stop here, because you have it figured out. Seriously. Awesome! Don't change anything.

However, if you're in the majority of people (80% by many statistics) who don't achieve their new years resolution (or even start in some cases) ask yourself;

"Why year after year, do I keep setting out goals for myself to start in the new year, but every year I don't achieve them?"

Remember the saying: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results" ?? I believe that would apply in this context.

3) They're often lofty, rule-ridden, restrictive resolutions that are a complete 180 from our current norm. This is one major factor in why the percentage of new years resolutions that ARE NOT achieved is so high - the goals are unrealistic. It's 0 to 100. One extreme to another, with no progression or steps along the way to build to the goal/resolution.

The past handful of years, I've really taken a different path when it comes to a new year. I attribute that to something I heard Michael Boyle (Strength Coach) say several years ago, and I've used with clients ever since:

"Most people GAIN at least a couple pounds per year. The idea that someone can maintain or LOSE a couple pounds over the period of one year is a big win in itself in our modern world!"

With that amazing outlook, especially for the general everyday person who wants to be healthy and happy, my January is a reflection point and planning time. It's such a wonderful way to have a target(s) but without putting so much stress and pressure on yourself!

-If I was able to maintain my weight for example (being the same or less than I was last January), I'm happy. Especially in a world where we are getting MORE sedentary, less mobile, in more pain and discomfort etc...

-I look at my logs, journals to look at my habits and routines. When they worked, when they didn't help plan for the upcoming 12-months in terms of my health


Then comes the goal setting for my health goals for the upcoming year. Key word - Year. A 12-month span. A bigger picture.

The goal setting part of things is where NOT achieving your goal begins. Totally makes sense right? LOL What I mean is, we often set these big lofty new years resolutions with very little thought into the two important factors: HOW & WHY.

Let's use a simple (but real) example of someone who wants to change their eating habits. "In January, I'm going to go vegetarian" they say. Ok, great! But here's the first thing you forgot - currently you eat a variety of meat 2-3 times per day, 7-days per week. Oh and you LOVE meat! This may prove difficult without some progressive steps towards your goal, and really diving into why you feel you need to make this change!

Let's play with another simple example of someone who wants to be more active in the new year. "In January, I'm going to go to the gym 5-days per week before work" they say. Ok, awesome! But can we keep in mind that currently you don't go to the gym AT ALL, the gym is a 20min drive away from your house (and then 20min from your work), and you already hit snooze 4-times every morning when your alarm goes off to get up for work? Maybe this is a bit lofty to start off with?

IF you decide to set new years resolutions, why not set the resolution to something so simple you'll be in the minority of people who achieve it?? "And why would I do that?" you ask. Because if you set a simple goal, and you consistently hit your target over 4-6 weeks say, you'll not only have improved / changed but you even might enjoy it because it wasn't a 0 to 100 kind of change. It seemed easy! From there, you might say, "well that was great! Now I'm going to do 'x'" which is another simple goal added onto your most recent change in habits. By the time you get to June you look all the way back to New Years day and think "whoa! how'd I get here!?".

On another note, what if rather than looking ONLY ahead at the year, you look BACK on the previous year? What worked? What didn't work? What are some things that came up that didn't allow you achieve what you were hoping to achieve? What are some things you could do IF those things happen again THIS year?

-Change your mindset and approach to 2023. I challenge you!

-Give things a different approach if you feel it's necessary. Don't keep doing the same thing over and over and beating yourself up about it.

-Chat with a Fitness & Health Coach (I may know someone) not necessarily about a new workout or nutrition plan, but rather GOALS and planning in regards to health habits/practices.

-Be kind to yourself. Don't go hardcore for a few weeks and then beat yourself up because you "failed". You didn't fail! But you DID beat yourself up and beat down your self-confidence!

-0 to 100 may or may not work (not in most cases). But if it does work, there's a very high chance it won't last. If that's what you want, great. Go for it. But I know for a fact, most people would rather progress than be back to feeling the way they feel when they set their lofty goals.

-Take steps to get to your goal. It will create confidence, and make your journey less stressful along the way. Don't go "all in". Build to it. Learn. Enjoy it.

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