For many of us, choosing a New Year’s resolution is as much of a tradition as staying up until midnight. However, a study done in 2020 showed that only about 55% of people considered themselves successful at keeping their resolutions one year later. So, for 2023 I wanted to share some tips for setting realistic resolutions and achieving them. As a personal trainer in San Francisco, my advice will focus on meeting fitness goals, but most of these tips also apply to other types of goals.
Common New Year’s Fitness Resolutions
According to Statista, 23% of people made New Year’s resolutions about living healthier in 2022, and 20% wanted to lose weight. Here are a few common health and fitness-related resolutions:
- Exercise more
- Stop smoking or drinking
- Eat better
- Drink more water
- Build muscle
- Lose weight
The problem with most of these goals is that they are too vague and don’t have a specific plan attached to them. For example, if your goal is to exercise more, you’ll want to define how many times a week you plan to exercise. Then find specific times in your schedule when you can go to the gym or work out at home.
Another common mistake people make with these types of goals is making changes too rapidly, such as going from never working out to working out every day. Not only can this be dangerous for your body, but you’re more likely to burn out. Instead, start with small changes that can be sustained throughout the year.
Setting SMART Fitness Goals
SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Most experts agree that these are the essential elements of a good resolution. Let’s break down why these characteristics are important when setting a goal:
A specific goal should clearly state the desired outcome. For example, “I want to lose 20 pounds.” This helps you create an actionable plan to achieve your goal. Goals like “exercise more” are harder to stick to over time because “more” could mean one time a week or daily.
The goal should have an associated number or time frame that is easy to measure and track progress. This can be in terms of weight lost, inches lost, or minutes exercised per week. Measuring your progress can provide a helpful reality check on the days when you feel like you haven’t improved at all.
Don’t set a goal that is out of reach. Make sure it’s challenging but achievable. If you need to get used to exercising, start with 10 minutes three times a week and gradually increase the time each week.
Your goal should be meaningful to you, something that will make a difference in your life or have long-term benefits. It’s also important to have a why behind your goal, such as wanting to live a longer and healthier life.
Your goal should include a timeline or end date so that you can track your progress and make adjustments if needed. Having an end in sight can help you keep pushing to achieve your goal when you feel ready to give up.
How do You Accomplish Your Fitness Goals? 5 Tips for Success
Now you understand how to set a goal that is achievable for you, how do you stay motivated to accomplish your goal over time?
Create a Support System
Surround yourself with people who will help encourage and motivate you. This could be close family or friends, an online community, or a personal trainer. We all need help along the way, and having someone to cheer you on can be a great motivator.
Vary your Routine
Keep your routine fresh and exciting by varying the type of exercise you do. This could be as simple as swapping a high-intensity workout for a low-intensity one or trying something completely new like Pilates or Yoga.
Have a Plan
Come up with a plan for how you will achieve your goal. This could include writing down specific tasks that need to be completed or creating an exercise program tailored to your fitness level. When you have a plan, it’s easier to stay focused and on track.
Track Your Progress
Break down your goal into smaller milestones that can be tracked. For example, if you want to lose 20 pounds, track how much weight you’ve lost each week. When you see progress, it can be a great motivator to keep going.
Don’t Give Up
There will be days when it feels like you won’t reach your goal, but consistency is key. Stay focused, and don’t give up. Also, if you don’t meet a checkpoint or miss an exercise day, have grace with yourself and then get back on track.
Keep your 2023 Resolutions with AP Wellness Training & Consulting
One of my favorite tips for meeting fitness goals is to build a support system. Having an accountability partner or workout buddy improves consistency and motivation. You’re not just working out for yourself; you have to go for your friend too!
Because I believe so strongly in the power of having an accountability partner, I’m running a New Year’s special where you can bring a friend to your first three personal training sessions of the year. While this is only available in San Francisco, I’m also running an online special. If you’re interested in learning more, follow me on social media or subscribe to my email list.