New Year’s Resolutions…A Tradition of Failing?

By Kelly Lewis, Certified Personal Trainer

It’s hard to believe that we are turning the calendar another month into 2015. Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s Day are fading memories, and the enthusiasm that once motivated our New Year’s resolution is waning faster than we’d like to admit. In fact, the truth is that most people have already failed at keeping their New Year’s Resolution, and discouragement is sinking in. Research shows that 92% of resolutions are broken by the end of February. Ouch. Considering that the #1 and #2 resolutions are weight loss and exercise, I thought this topic would benefit from some conversation. The question is this: Why are our resolutions failing us? Or, perhaps, why are we failing them? Let’s chat…

Goals are Unrealistic: Okay, I understand that folks want to lose weight and get in shape come January 1st. And that is a wonderful thing! However, in order to set oneself up for success, these goals should be realistic and specific. To say that, “I’m going to lose weight and get fit in 2015,” is not specific and is not the most effective tactic when striving towards success. I’ll suggest to you that it would be helpful to state instead (as an example), “My goal is to lose five pounds by the end of this month,” or, “I’m going to add two days a week of thirty minutes of physical activity to my schedule.” Whoever said that resolutions could not be tweaked and revisited? Having great success? Fantastic! Try increasing your goals the next thirty days!

Setbacks are Derailing: Temptation. Lack of motivation. Frustration. Perceived failure. These are experiences that everyone will have as they work through their resolution. Some days are good, and some days are not. Simple as that. But the key is to give yourself the gift of grace. Understand that everyone has weak moments and you are not alone in your frustrations. However, the secret is to acknowledge the failure and reset your “meter” towards success. One difficult day does not mean that you should throw in the towel. Be kind to yourself and do not let your setback derail or define you. Each new day brings a clean slate and a fresh opportunity for victory!

Start Celebrating!: Positive reinforcement is a strong motivator in life. We all like to be rewarded for hard work and a job well done. Why should positive progress with your resolution be any different? Once you set a weight loss or fitness goal for yourself, tag on a motivating reward. There’s something very sweet about reaching a goal and celebrating this milestone with a special treat. I’d like you to consider rewards outside of the “food and beverage” category, as well. Perhaps when you see those five pounds drop you can splurge on those awesome new running shoes that you’ve been eyeing since Christmas. Or, once you stick with a consistent fitness regimen for thirty days, you can reward your fatigued muscles with a massage. Celebrate your accomplishments. You deserve it!

I hope these little tidbits were helpful to you as you work towards your personal goals for 2015. Although these three bullet points were written from the perspective of a weight- and fitness-related goal, they can truly be applied to just about any resolution that you have made. This article began with the general question: “Why do New Year’s resolutions fail?” Perhaps you have a specific question related to fitness and wellness? I would love to hear from you! I’ll be addressing YOUR questions in the April issue of Forsyth Family. Please write to me at and your question might be selected as a featured question! All questions will remain anonymous; your privacy is of the utmost importance to me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
Until next month, my friends…be active, be mindful, and be well.

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