How To Make a Successful New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year, friends! I hope you had a fit, fun and successful 2016. I know a lot of people talk about 2016 being a drag, and not to minimize anyone else's pain, but 2016 was a great year for me. I have a roof over my head, food on my plate, a job (or three), friends, family and you. Sure, we lost some celebrity icons in 2016 and there are political and social issues that seem to be cultivating fear in the masses. I choose to think and act positively, to try to approach life from a grateful and loving heart instead of a place of fear. There are problems in the world but all I can do is to try be a shining light in my own little way. I fail sometimes, but I try and that is enough.

But I digress. Here we are in 2017. For some it may feel like a fresh start. I love that the New Year inspires the world to want to make positive changes in their lives. But New Year's Resolutions don't have a great track record for success. Why is that? Why do we want to change but then fail to take the actions necessary to follow through? I am as guilty as any. 

After 42 years of experimenting (aka trying and failing), I know that going all in on an aggressive goal on January 1st usually doesn't last. After a few weeks or even a few days you end up burned out, stressed out or worse, injured. Then you go back to just doing what you always do, because well, it's easier that way. But doing what you've always done will never inspire growth and change.

Whether your goal for 2017 involves a diet or exercise plan, a professional goal, a financial goal or anything else, the key to success is sustainability.

Whatever your goals are for 2017 evaluate each of them for sustainability. Ask yourself, is this something that I can do for the rest of my life? Not 12 weeks, not 6 months, but the rest of your life.

A 60 day no carb challenge? Fails the test. I can tell you right now I am going to want to eat carbs again in my remaining years on this earth. Period. No question. (Besides, we as athletes, this includes you, need carbs to thrive.) 

A 6 day-a-week one hour high-intensity workout plan? Maybe this will work out fine for the short terms, and maybe you will even lose some weight, but this is not sustainable long term (aka the rest of your life). You are much better served sticking to 20-30 minutes most days of the week alternating between high and low intensity workouts. Think of it like this: Would you rather workout hard and diet for 12 weeks, lose 30 pounds and then gain it all back once the program is over? Or lose 30 pounds over a longer period of time and keep it off for the rest of your life?

Whatever your goal, make it something that is sustainable for the rest of your life. Suffering for 12 weeks won't benefit you in the long run. An old lady on her deathbed doesn't remember that 12 weeks from her 30s when she worked out or dieted really hard. Temporary actions lead to temporary results.

If you really want something you  have to make commitments to yourself that may be uncomfortable at first, but small consistent action over time will snowball into big results. 

The big secret: Choose something that is sustainable over the long term. Commit to small action every day. Be consistent over the long term. That's how you have a successful New Year's Resolution.

I wrote a post called "How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit" if you want some ideas to get started on your sustainable workout goals. Remember it is always best to start slow, you have the rest of your life to build on it. 

What are your new year's resolutions? Do they pass the sustainability test? I am going to start getting up early again, at 5:30am to workout some days and work on my blog and business other days. It is a good habit that has fallen to the wayside and a positive change I can make in my own life in 2017.

I thought this article on Breaking Muscle was outstanding and illustrated my point even further. "Changing Your Life is Not a 45 Day Challenge."

Like this post? It helps me when you share.

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.