The start of a new year will bring us to think about what we are looking to change. With January being dark and gloomy, it’s common practice to set ourselves resolutions, often based around fitness, which will get us up and out of the house, and that will help put our best foot forward for the rest of the year.

Many approach this by going for a run every day for the first half of January, others sign up for a gym membership which is destined to be cancelled by the start of February.

In this article, we look at why new year’s fitness resolutions fail, and how you can stay on track and complete your goals.

1) Make sure this resolution is important to you.

It’s rare that a fitness target is just about getting in shape. Whether it’s about bringing more structure to your life, improving your mental health, getting better sleep, feeling a sense of achievement after completing a race, or any other reason, your new year fitness motivations must be personal to you.

Once you find this reason, use it as an anchor whenever you’re feeling non-committal, and if it’s a strong enough reason, it’ll bring you back on track. It’s certainly a great start. 

2) Be very clear about your goals and when you plan to achieve them.

When creating a fitness plan, it’s easy to make it slightly vague and to not confirm when you want it to finish or what the end goal will be. If you are planning a new year’s resolution based around health and fitness, try your best to do the opposite of this.

Make your plan as real as possible with a clear set of goals, a certain target whether that be a personal best, rep count, or anything else, and when you want to reach it.

It’s okay to realise you’ve set a goal that you don’t think is possible to achieve, it’ll simply be a case of reigning it back in slightly, so it’s still tough, but doable. 

3) It’s okay to grow your resolution out.

Following on from the previous point, alternatively to scaling a speculative target back, you can also build your New Year fitness plan training outwards.

Trying to change to achieve too much too quickly could lead to you soon feeling disillusioned with your health and fitness resolution or even worse, picking up an injury. There’s nothing wrong with finding a goal that you can reach and then set another goal after that. Just because a target wasn’t set specifically before the pre-new year, doesn’t mean it isn’t part of the resolution. 

4) Find ways to keep yourself accountable.

A good way of keeping on track with a New Years’ resolution, whether that be for fitness or anything else, is to find a method for keeping track of your workouts, or more importantly, the times when you aren’t working out. One way of doing this is by talking to people about your resolutions and goals.

It won’t need to be many, just a couple of friends, preferably ones that also have resolutions, so you can check in on each other and feel accountable for how committed you are to your goals.

If you don’t feel like talking to others about it, you could also keep a fitness plan diary, and in getting in the practice of filling out your workout, you’ll also realise when you aren’t training as regularly as you were previously. 

5) Stay on track with how you are progressing.

Keeping a measurement of how you are progressing may play an important role in your New Year’s fitness routine.

Making yourself stay disciplined by getting out and about for your workout is of course very important, but if you don’t make a note of your progression, it will be hard to know if you are truly keeping on track with your targets. 

6) Try to not rely on motivation alone.

Probably the best thing about making New Year’s resolutions is the drive that a fresh start can bring. Whatever happened last year, can stay there, and with that brings a motivation to change.

For many, however, this new year’s optimism will only last for so long, possibly a month or two. While this may sound negative, it’s important to prepare for this, and find ways to be ready for days when you aren’t feeling as driven, and when you need other methods to stay on track.

This could be as simple as making a pros and cons list when you are first starting to keep you committed, scheduling workout days in your diary, finding a running buddy, or giving yourself a treat to watch on TV once you’re done with each session. Whatever it is, the most important thing is to find what makes you tick.

7) Do what you can to make it fun!

Again, the drive of getting in great shape will initially be enough to keep you exercising, but it will be harder to come by on certain days. As you decide on your fitness plan and the targets involved, also try to incorporate ways to make it as enjoyable as possible.

Whether it’s a weekly podcast, a music playlist that you can add too with every session, different types of workouts for each week so you don’t get bored, or a friend you only see for training, make sure your exercise is as much about the fun side as it is about the fitness side. 

8) Create a benchmark.

To give your routine more of a tangible direction, enrolling in a competition related to your new year fitness challenge ideas can help give you that drive you need to keep going.

Whether that be a 5k for runners or getting involved in a 5-a-side football team or organizing a tennis match for March or April, it’s a great way to keep on going and to stay on top of your fitness goals. 

9) Don’t be too hard on yourself.

While doing your very best to stay committed will ensure the best results, if you do hit a stumbling block, it’s okay. It’s vital to remember that you are doing this for no one else apart from yourself and that you can always push on from where you left off, or even start again if you feel that’s what your body needs.

If you do start to feel you’re waning, take one day at a time and focus on the positives you have experienced so far from your training.

Also while it isn’t faltering per se, if you pick up an injury during your training, just do the exercises that are still possible, and if even this isn’t possible, just start your plan again when you have recovered and are ready. It doesn’t need to be new years for you to restart your fitness plan!