It’s that time of year when many people set a New Year Resolution. Read on for the top 10 secrets to achieving your goal this year. I’d love to hear your Health and Fitness New Year Resolution, so please comment at the bottom.
Thanks to the Busy Parent Fitness subscribers who filled out my recent survey on health and fitness goals, and interests. I really appreciate your comments. This is what you told me…
The Men and Women who filed out the Busy Parent Fitness survey had different priorities1:
- 92% of the women want to lose body fat in 2017, and 75% of men want to get stronger
- The second priority was improving health for 69% of women; men had equal priorities for losing body fat, improving health, and mindfulness, purpose, work/life balance.
According to an article on Promoting Habit Formation, published in Health Psychology Review, the average number of days to form a habit is not the 21 days typically promoted, but is 66 days3—so prepare for at least 2 consistent months, before it can become a natural habit.
A year-long study of 3,000 people, led by Richard Wiseman, at the University of Hertfordshire, found that only 12% actually achieved their goal.2
10 Secrets To Achieving Your New Year’s Resolution
1) Tell Everyone Your New Year Resolution
The study found that when women told others about their goal, their probability of success increased by 10%.2 So make it public; tell everyone—post your resolution on Facebook and tell all of your family and friends, in order to gain the benefits of social support.
Download a resolution pledge card here, and take a photo of you holding your resolution. If you tag the photo on facebook with @busyparentfit then I’ll add some of the photos to this article, to help you increase your commitment.
2) Set A Single Focused Goal
If you have multiple goals on losing weight, getting a six-pack, giving up smoking and alcohol, you may find it overwhelming and struggle to complete any of your goals. Keep your mind focused in one direction at a time—once you make progress you can focus on another.
3) Be SMART When Setting A New Year Resolution
Set Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time specific goals.
Rather than stating “to walk for an hour three times a week”, include the days and times…and write them in your calendar.
If your goal is to do something like drink more water, then include a trigger event, such as drink half a pint of water with each meal.
Instead of “eating healthier,” consider something like “eliminating all processed foods from my diet.” Whatever you choose, make sure it is attainable.
Set a time deadline, such as to “lose 30 lbs. by July 1st”.
4) Set Weekly Goals
Men who set time planning goals such as losing one pound per week, were 22% more likely to achieve the goal2, than those who just said they wanted to lose weight.
Consider setting your goals incrementally, like climbing the rungs of a ladder. For example, going to an exercise class once a week in January, two times a week in February, etc.
5) Reality Check
Most people set an overly ambitious target. When they realise they’re not are achieving anyway near what they planned, it can feel like failure…and they give up.
So if you currently don’t exercise at all, then don’t set a goal to go to the gym three times a week for an hour. Instead set a goal for half an hour, two times a week.
6) Don’t Do It The Same Way
According to Wiseman, “Deciding to revisit a past resolution sets you up for frustration and disappointment. Choose something new, or approach an old problem in a new way.”
7) Chose A Small Reward
Reward yourself when you achieve specific milestones, such as losing seven pounds. But don’t choose something to sabotage your goal. So if you’re goal is weight loss, then rewarding yourself with a huge cake eating session, will only make you feel like a failure afterwards. A new, small pair of jeans can be more constructive.
8) Track Your Goals
Document and track your progress, so you can reflect on how well you’re doing. If you don’t achieve it one week, analyse what you did, and decide what you’ll do differently.
Scale weight can be misleading, especially when you’ve put on some muscle and lost fat simultaneously. Photos may give you a better idea of how your body is changing over time. So can trying on a slightly smaller pair of jeans each week, until you fit into them.
9) Remind Yourself Of Your New Year Resolution
Regularly remind yourself of the benefits to you and your loved ones, of achieving your goal. Write it on a sticky note and put it where you will see it each day.
When being tempted, I like to question the “now.” If I do this now, will it put me closer, or further from my goals?
10) Don’t Fret About Setbacks
“You don’t slash all your tires, when you get a puncture.” At some point, after committing to your goal, you might eat a slice of cake at a social gathering. The reaction for many people can be to think “I’ve ruined my diet,” and then have a massive binge eating session and give up completely.
One unsuccessful meal doesn’t mean all is lost—think of it as a small temporary setback, and continue to make progress.
Tip 1 Reminder: Tell Everyone Your New Year Resolution
Download a resolution pledge card here, and take a photo of you holding your resolution. If you tag the photo on Facebook with @busyparentfit then I’ll add some of the photos to this article to help you increase your commitment.
Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions. Please keep me updated.
George D. Choy
Personal Trainer & Calisthenics Instructor
Gymnacity in Oxted, Surrey, United Kingdom
 BusyParentFitness.com New Year Survey (2017).
 Richard Wiseman. New Year’s Resolution Project (2007).
 Phillippa Lally & Benjamin Gardner (2013): Promoting habit formation, HealthPsychology Review, 7:sup1, S137-S158