Happy New Year! Learn how to make and keep New Year fitness resolutions in this quick read.
Are you making New Year fitness resolutions this year? If so, I love this for you! It’s a great time of year to use all the optimism and the feeling of a fresh start to keep reaching for your goals.
I was first certified as a personal trainer 19 years ago. Whoa, time flies! In this time, I’ve seen hundreds of people make plans, make resolutions, make goals, work toward their goals, fail and succeed.
The ones who have succeeded in reaching their goals have done a few things right. Read below for how to use these tips on how to make and keep your new year fitness resolutions.
Resolutions and Goals Work Together
One thing I want you to keep in mind is that resolutions and goals are not the same thing. Goals are the outcome of your resolutions.
Resolutions are the actions you take to get to your goals, and without resolutions, your goals are dead in the water. Likewise, it is much harder to consistently hit your resolutions if you don’t have goals to push toward.
Read below to find out what my clients and I have discovered about how to make your resolutions work for you, and drive you toward your goals!
Think About Your End Goal – Dream Big!
First I want you to think about what you really want. If you could achieve what you want most, what is it? Don’t be practical, don’t be pessimistic. What do you want??
DON’T shoot your ideas down! Think about your biggest, highest, loftiest goals! Don’t overanalyze how long it’ll take or even if you can do it. Just be honest with yourself about what you’d like.
You can pare it down later if its too crazy, but for now, think big!
Interestingly, I often find that thinking big and being honest about goals is a difficult thing for people to do. Nobody needs to give you permission to want what you want. You deserve to be happy in the body you life, so be honest about what that is.
You can decide later if it’s something you want enough to pursue. For now, just think about those goals.
For example, I want a 315 deadlift, a 150 pound bench and a 250 squat. We’ll continue to use this example of a big New Year goal.
Your goal can be an outcome or an event; it can be to lose a certain amount of weight or do a 5k. It can be anything.
Pick One of These Goals to Work On
I hope you really did think big and choose a few goals. For now, let’s pick one to focus on. Which one seems most exciting or rewarding for you to choose? Which do you feel like you can work consistently at?
I’m going to focus on my deadlift for a few reasons. 1, I’ve been making progress toward it more than my other lifts. 2, my squat is farther away from my goal than my deadlift. 3, bench, ugh.
Can I help you reach your fitness goals this year? Check out these training options for working together, and email me to discuss your free consult!
Make Your Goal Achievable (Probably)
Now I’ll let you think about if this is feasible, and if you want it. First, is this achievable for you, or inside the realm of possibility? At this point, don’t be pessimistic, but you can be reasonable here.
For example, if I’m telling the truth, I want a 500 pound deadlift, not just a 315 pound one. Haha. Honestly, that’s probably not possible for me. I’ll choose a more achievable goal. Plenty of women my size and age have deadlifted 315. I’m certain if I train hard and eat and rest enough, I can deadlift 315.
The second part of identifying this goal is deciding if it’s worth working on. Are you willing to put in the effort to achieve it? Sometimes a goal is absolutely doable, but will take more effort than you’re willing to exert.
Like I mentioned before, many women like me have deadlifted 315. Many have deadlifted significantly more. I think it would take more effort training, and weight gaining than I’m willing to do to deadlift much more than 315. I’d be super proud with 315, so I’ll choose that.
What one goal can you work on that sets you up to be happy and proud when you work toward and achieve it?
Reverse Engineer – How Can You Get Halfway To Your Big Goal?
This is important! Where would you be if you make it halfway to your goal? How can you make it there? This can be losing a certain number of pounds, jogging half your goal mileage, etc.
For me, I need about 75 pounds more on my deadlift to reach 315. Halfway to that goal is about 37 pounds added to my deadlift. I can do that. That will take some months, and a steady supply of lifting, eating enough, and resting. It might not even happy this year, but I can work on it. The time will pass anyway.
Identify your halfway point and estimate about how long that will take you. Does this still support your idea the goal being one you are willing to work toward?
If so, congrats! If not, make an adjustment until you’re confident that both your halfway, and whole goal are most likely achievable. Even if they’re a bit aggressive, know that with hard, deliberate and consistent work, you can get pretty darn close to achieving it.
Identify Resolutions to Take You To Your Goal
What action steps can you take to drive you toward your goal? Brainstorm these. Write them all down and we’ll condense them into an actionable plan.
These will become your resolutions.
- Do a heavy (not max) deadlift every 7-10 days.
- Practice well chosen accessory work
- Prioritize getting enough quality sleep
- Quit skipping breakfast, Kathryn. Eat breakfast every day!
As a side note, you can skip breakfast if it works for you. Meal timing, preferences and amounts of macronutrients are different for everybody. This is completely dependent on your goals, style of training, what time of day you train and eat, etc. I just know that for myself, I don’t tend to eat enough if I skip breakfast.
Choose Your Resolutions
Finally, you can now choose your resolutions! Choose one or two main ones that you are 95% certain you can achieve. It is always better to consistently keep your word to yourself on one or two main action items than to fail at 12 perfect action items.
For my deadlift goal, I made 4 potential action steps. I am going to choose two of those to be my resolutions: am going to choose prioritizing sleep and breakfast as my resolutions.
I chose this because these are not things I do well and regularly. Added focus on sleep and breakfast is where I can make the most progress.
I am certain I can manage my time better to do both of these things.
The reason I didn’t choose deadlifting weekly and doing good accessory work is because I am currently doing those two things. Those aren’t things that are a problem for me, so I don’t need the extra focus of calling them new resolutions.
Solidify Your Resolutions
Add detail to your resolutions so you know exactly what you have to do to achieve them. Have a concrete idea of how to execute them. Don’t make them nebulous gray area.
Think through the details so you can be certain when you are setting yourself up to succeed.
For example, I said I need to get enough sleep. What does that even mean? For me, that means 8 hours. I don’t have a problem getting that on weekends, so I’ll focus on getting enough sleep on weeknights.
Secondly, I mentioned eating breakfast. That means protein and a side, and giving myself a few more minutes in the morning so lack of time is not an excuse. I’ll have to be honest with myself about what I’ll make enough time to eat in the morning.
My goal is 30 grams of protein for breakfast, and a side or two. I can do this through eggs, Greek yogurt and fruit.
So there we have it: my new years resolutions are to sleep 8 hours on weeknights. Second resolution is to have 30 grams of protein for breakfast every morning.
How Will You Achieve These Resolutions?
Add more detail to the following section and think through these resolutions. To support these resolutions, I need to focus on getting all my work done earlier in the day so I do not have to work late past bedtime.
To hit my breakfast goals, I’ll need to keep fresh eggs, fruit and yogurt in the fridge. I’ve never been worried about eating “non breakfast” foods for breakfast, so I sometimes fall in the habit of not preparing well, assuming I’ll just grab leftovers.
But, to make my resolutions, I’ll have to keep the fridge stocked.
What Are Your Resolution?
I’d love to hear your resolutions for 2024! Message me or leave them in the comments below.
Remember these easy steps to make and keep new years fitness resolutions:
- Identify your goals and prioritize one
- Choose resolutions that will help you achieve that goal
- Put a plan in action to succeed on those resolutions
Questions About How to Make and Keep New Years Fitness Resolutions:
Shouldn’t I Make More Resolutions? I Need to Change More than 1-2 Things!
No! Pick 1 or 2. Nail them. Hit it out of the park. Crush it! Then after a month or a quarter, you can add in another 1 or 2 resolutions. It is much less likely you achieve any success if you’re trying to change 27 things at once.
I Blew it On Day 1. What Do I Do?
Just start new! It’s hard to not celebrate at the new year; it’s fun! Just restart, and recommit; don’t look back.
Related: How Does Alcohol Affect Gains?
How Long Should New Year Resolutions Last?
This might sound like a silly question, but it’s a fair one to ask.
Not all new year resolutions stick, and that’s ok. Some aren’t made to last forever. If it stops you from making resolutions because you think they can’t last all year, try for some January resolutions.
Run through the above exercise with a goal of making resolutions you can keep just for one month. After that, you can edit them or maintain them, or even completely rethink them.
Turns out, I’ve had the same philosophy about new year’s resolutions since I wrote about them in 2015. Ha!
About the author
Kathryn Alexander is a strength coach and personal trainer in Austin, Texas. She loves hiking, college football, and the feel of a perfectly knurled barbell. Read more about Kathryn here.