Almost half of Americans make an annual New Year’s resolution, yet far fewer meet their goals.
Only about 25% of resolutions are kept past the first week in January and just 8% are achieved long term.
Why don’t more resolutions stick?
Often, we overlook the steps that lead to the goal, according to Brady Vernon, ACE-CPT, a health and fitness trainer at SamFit. We also set ourselves up to fail with goals that are too hard, require too much sacrifice or are unrealistic.
“A goal should be made up of a several smaller goals,” Vernon said.
If you resolve to lose weight, include supporting goals, such as walking for 10 minutes after lunch. If you want to eat more whole foods, add broccoli to your takeout meal. If you want more physical exercise, add a walk around the block to your nighttime routine.
“The person you are today is because of practice,” Vernon said. “It’s going to take focus over a long period of time to meet your goal.”
Being able to pivot when circumstances change is also vital. Vernon recalled his career aspirations from middle school, with a laugh.
“I’m sure glad I didn’t keep trying to become a professional basketball player,” he said. “Revisit your goals often. Those that are most important will keep making their way to your list.”
Not all goals can be measured on a scale or in the mirror. If you’re struggling or not seeing results, think about all the other ways your efforts are benefitting you. People who make lasting changes are persistent and have a good attitude.
“Seeing the glass half full is a big advantage,” Vernon said. “Setbacks are inevitable. How you interpret them is up to you.”
To stay accountable, assemble supporters. Find a gym buddy, hire a trainer or invite a coworker or family member to join you.
“Let them know your intentions. Update them regularly and let them cheer you on!” Vernon said.
You also don’t need to wait for the new year to set a goal.
“Take action the moment you decide on a goal,” Vernon said. “Whatever it is, remember to accept yourself with compassion and self‑love.”
Learn more about SamFit health and fitness centers, including classes and personal training at SamFit.org.