Why New Years’ Fitness Resolutions Fail

Why New Years Fitness Resolutions FailIt is that time of the year again when the gym memberships spike and gyms begin to fill up… at least for a month or so. With New Years’ Day looming, that resolution to get in shape creeps into everyone’s minds. Some have failed time and time again, but still resolve to get in the gym and lose those extra few pounds.

TIME magazine has done excerpts on New Years’ resolutions and have found that the goals of losing weight and getting fit are the most commonly broken New Years’ resolution. Why is it so hard for people to stay on the path to maintaining good health and a good fitness level?

If it were just one issue standing in the way of people getting fit, it would be an easy problem to solve, but there are a myriad of issues that making this a losing battle for people.

Lack of Motivation

I am not one to say that people lack the motivation to exercise. I firmly believe that it is the motivation to do counter productive actions instead of not being motivated to exercise. Whether it be not wanting to diet or wanting to spend more time with family and friends or not wanting to be sore, the same excuses are given time and time again by people lacking the want to exercise. They have talked themselves into wanting something else more.

By the Numbers

Many studies have been performed about the percentages of when people fail at their fitness goals. While these studies date back a little bit, the numbers since them are most likely around the same. The challenge of fitness goals is to maintain the desire and will power to go on. Success of maintaining goals stops at one month for 64% of people (Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2012). However, the true substantial drop off comes at the six month milestone with approximately 50% dropping out (Tudor-Locke & Chan, 2006). It is extremely hard to argue with these numbers.

Creatures of Habit

We are creatures of habit, be it good or bad. Habits are powerful and most people perform about half of their actions every day on daily actions that are habits, not decisions. If you are looking for success in any aspect of life, make something a habit and it will have a better chance of sticking. Eating right, frequent exercising and sleeping right are all something that we should make a habit out of. Just those three small things alone will make a huge impact on your overall health.

Be Specific

Goals that are not written down are simply wishes. Write your goals down and focus on making them achievements. Be specific with the goals that you set for yourself. What is it that you want to accomplish? Why do you want to accomplish these goals? What is involved? When will you accomplish your goals by? Also, try and list the impediments that stand in your way. The criteria to your goals should be measurable in hopes to being actionable. If a goal is not measurable, how do you know once you have attained it?

In addition to attainability, we want to ensure that realism to the goals in a reasonable time frame. Do not say that you will lose twenty pounds a week for four weeks. That is not achievable and is already setting yourself up for failure. If you have never heard of SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant/Realistic, Time), look them up because there is a lot of benefits to following SMART.

Preparation is the Key

Preparation could be the difference between failing and completing your mission. Prepare for anything that may stand in your way. Prepare your meals so that you have less of a chance of cheating. Prepare to reward yourself for achieving milestones. Even prepare for setbacks, which are not failures. Setbacks set you back a little bit, but are able to be hurdled. There is no setback that you cannot overcome.

At the end of the day, think about what you want more – this temporary feeling or a long term feeling of health and accomplishment. If it is a matter of eating unhealthy food, think about the long term effects that snack will have on you. Write down your meals and what they consist of. Count your calories. That is the easiest way to stop eating things that have no benefit to you. Eat for function, not for taste. Food is merely energy to get through the day. Do not abuse it as anything that you eat that your body does not use, will stay on as fat.


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