How to make a fitness New Year’s resolution that will stick

"I'm going to start working out and eating healthy once the New Year starts."

If that goal has been on your New Year's resolution list for the past however many years and you're still finding a way to stick to your health-oriented plans, we're not judging you. We've all been there.

If you want your fitness goals to stick, try starting them before January 1.Credit:Stocksy

This time around, though, things will be different because you're going to have a plan and you're going to be armed with tips on how to stick to your New Year's resolutions for the rest of the year (and maybe even for the rest of your life).

Breanna Wiley, a personal trainer for four years, cautions that if you're new to fitness, starting a new routine is going to be difficult regardless of whether you decide to start in the New Year or any random Tuesday.

Don't wait until the New Year

There's no better time to start your new healthy journey than the present.

"It takes time to break and build new habits, heading into the new year with momentum from the last days of 2018 will position you to better succeed," said Osamoje Imoohi, a certified personal trainer.

Write your goals down

Tuekeha Huntley, who's been a personal trainer for two years, recommends writing down your goals and then writing down specific plans for your goals – basically, make plans for your plans.

"What can you do to hit those goals? Be specific," Huntley said. "Break it down into realistic goals. Not just I want to lose five kilograms in three months, but write down baby steps. This is the way that I'm going to lose five kilograms in three months – so you're writing down I'm going to join a gym, I'm going to do 30 minutes of cardio."

Don't neglect your diet

Charity Faye, a chef and wellness expert, recommends that you remind yourself that you are a valuable human being and that you matter and to treat yourself that way by eating foods that will make your body feel good – like fruits and vegetables.

Eating a balanced diet that is high in vegetables will support a good exercise program.Credit:William Meppem

"Our diet is critical to our ability to have good moods, to think clearly and to rid ourselves of illnesses and diseases and other factors that prevent us from having the willpower to go work out and take care of ourselves," Faye said.

The wellness chef adds that you should listen to your body when it comes to food. Some days you may need to eat carbs, so go ahead and eat carbs and another week you may not need to eat meat, so go ahead and skip the steak for dinner.

Listen to your body. If it says, ‘Eat the steak,’ then eat the steak.

Huntley also agrees that you can't just work out and not change anything about your dietary habits. She said that in addition to writing down your fitness plans, write down your dietary one as well. Keep a food journal; that way it will be easy to track how many calories you're consuming and then you can slowly cut from there.

Don't buy into the trendy diet or workout fads

We're constantly bombarded with new dietary fads or workout trends, but fitness experts recommend to steer clear of those.

"If you say I'm going to do the keto diet for 30 days because it's a trend you're going to fall off," said Faye. "Don't set a goal for the next 30 days – say today this is what my body needs therefore this is what I'm going to give my body."

Huntley agrees that one of the most important parts about achieving your goals is being consistent and staying on your own path and buying into this fads will distract you from your own personal journey.

"I feel like everyone knows the recipe to lose weight and be fit is to exercise and eat right but they don't have a connection with being consistent or the ability to follow through," said Huntley.

Consistency is what will help you achieve your goals for the long term – not fad diets.

It's not going to happen over night 

Starting a new fitness routine and committing to eating healthy is not a small feat and that's why most people think of it as a lifestyle change instead of just dieting and exercising. These new changes to your routine will take time to adjust to and it will take time for you to reach your goals.

"A lot of people start a journey focusing on the big picture saying I want to lose 25 to 30 kilograms instead of focusing on the day to day work to reach that," said Wiley.

Find someone to hold you accountable

Grab a friend, a trainer, your neighbour, someone or anyone to hold you accountable to your goals.

Huntley believes that accountability is a major factor in sticking to your new plans. She advises getting someone who will check up on you and ask if you've been to the gym today or ask what you had to eat.

Having a trainer or a buddy can help you stay accountable for your fitness and health goals.Credit:Ken Irwin

Imoohi agrees that you need people in your circle who also want to see you succeed. He recommends surrounding yourself with people that share the same values and goals as you.

"Your tribe determines your vibe," Imoohi said. "Having a supportive community makes the journey a bit more bearable and less difficult."

Plan, plan and plan some more

Make your new goals a priority in your life.

Faye said that people should plan their meals the same way they plan on going to work or hanging out with friends.

"We will stick to our health commitments if we plan it in our day to do so," said Faye.


Getting your mind right will set you up for success in your fitness journey.

"One of the best ways people can stay dedicated to a new year fitness routine is to incorporate meditation into their practice, especially the Shamatha technique," said Shaina Lynn, a fitness instructor who incorporates yoga and meditation into her classes. "Meditation has been proven to improve memory, decrease stress-related illness, improve sleep and boost immunity. When you feel better you are more likely to pursue your goals."

USA Today

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