To Make a New Year Resolution or Not

Multitask Your Workout

Think of last year at this time. Seems like a blink doesn't it?  Every year, many start off the New Year with new goals – as you know we like to call them "resolutions."  Some are personal, business, or financial goals, but most are fitness and health related.  In fact, many gyms and fitness centers are so overloaded with new and "resolute" old members  that many regularly attending and committed members try to find new hours to get their workouts done. 

But by the end of January and early February, the term resolution is no longer of importance, and gym attendance goes back to normal.  In fact, the term resolution is no longer in our lexicon by then.  If you are in the fitness business or have struggled every year with your commitment to fitness and health, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Better Options to Achieve Success

Daily Goal: Instead of using the term resolution, try daily goal. Each day do something that moves you toward your long-term goal. Your daily movement or change from the normal routine will help you form a new habit.  Some will say it only takes 21 days to build a habit, but that is not a scientifically proven number. 

This has also been studied in a European Journal of Social Psychology, and they claim it takes about two months to truly build a habit.  So do not feel bad if you do not go to the gym consistently within the first month. Do something each day, even if that's a simple walk after each meal or an extra bottle or glass of water with each meal too.

Quarterly Goal: Make longer-term goals that aren't as open-ended as, "this year I am getting fit." A quarterly goal of dropping a few dress sizes or a few notches on the belt are perfect for starters. You may reach those goals half way through the quarter if you move with a purpose and keep your daily goals in mind. 

Also consider a performance goal. Try to add something like a pull-up or 5km run to your routine. If you are already active, pump it up a level and shoot for a 10km run or even a half marathon. Are you bored with running? Try a triathlon. Learn how to swim. Lift weights and try to get stronger – maybe even as strong as you once were in high school or college. It can be done.  There are so many ways to learn something new while getting fit and healthy. The quarterly goal also covers you on the "science of habit forming time" mentioned above.  Make a new quarterly goal, succeed, make another one, and the next thing you know you have finished a year with several health goals completed. Along the way, you will have reached that bigger and most important achievement by the end of the year: getting fit and healthy.

I hate to say it, but don't waste your time with a resolution. Make a resolution if it gets you started, but to keep going, break your plan down into daily, monthly, and quarterly sub- goals and the longer term goals will arrive sooner than you realize.  If you start today, this year will go by in a blink just like last year, and you will be in an entirely different place. 

Good luck in 2015!

Stew Smith writes about fitness and acing physical fitness tests and is the founder of Heroes of Tomorrow Fitness – a FREE local and online fitness resource for people seeking military, law enforcement, and firefighting professions and testing tactical fitness gear and equipment.

Stew Smith works as a presenter / editorial board with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).  There are also over 800 articles on Fitness Forum focusing on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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