A guide to New Year's fitness resolutions
New Year's is all about celebrating new beginnings, enjoying time away from our usual routines, and popping champagne with friends and family. When the fun is all over, there's often no escaping those infamous New Year's resolutions. Sure, they can be a great way of reaching your goals, but often they’re unrealistic and almost impossible to stick to beyond January. In this blog, we break down why our New Year's resolutions tend to fail and give you some useful tips and tricks on how to make sure you can achieve all of yours in 2022. What’s the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation? How can you find a healthy form of motivation? What’s the right balance between challenging and realistic? Read on to learn the answers to these questions and find out how they will help you to stick to your New Year's fitness resolutions for a healthy, successful and happy 2022.
It's in human nature to make (and break) New Year's resolutions
There's just something about the start of a brand-new year that sparks a desire to set New Year's resolutions. It's simply part of being human to set goals at the start of something new, whether it's a new week, month or year. Popular New Year’s fitness resolutions include losing weight, eating healthy or following an exercise plan, yet critics of New Year’s resolutions say it makes no sense to wait until the 1st of January to start getting after your goals. When you feel like you need to change something in your life, you should just do it, no matter what time of year. They also worry about overcompensating. If your mind is set on eating healthy from New Year’s Day onwards, it’s easy to get a little crazy in the last few weeks of the year. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with getting into the festive spirit, but you can also take advantage of the motivational power New Years can bring to your health & fitness journey.
Why do most New Year's resolutions fail?
If we're so motivated during New Year's, then why do so many resolutions fail? While the answer depends on people’s individual strengths and weaknesses, there are a few mistakes that we all tend to make. Here are the most common, along with our advice on how to fix them:
Mistake #1: your motivation is extrinsic
Extrinsic motivation refers to behaviours driven by external rewards. Do you want to eat healthier, build muscle, or lose weight for praise, respect or attention from others? Or do you want to lose weight for your own health, wellbeing and happiness? If your goal doesn't satisfy intrinsic psychological needs like these, you may want to re-think whether it’s something you really want to be aiming for. Having a goal driven by extrinsic motivation isn't healthy or feasible.
Solution: only spend time and energy on goals with intrinsic motivation
Pick a resolution that's personal and meaningful to you. If you find it hard to determine whether you have intrinsic motivation for something, think of your passions. What are you curious about? How do you like to express yourself? And, above all, what do you do for fun? Try to make sure your New Year's resolutions are related to at least one, if not all, of these things.
Mistake #2: your New Year’s resolutions aren't SMART
If you set yourself a New Year's resolution that isn't Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based, you're going to have a hard time sticking with it.
Solution: make your New Year’s resolutions SMART
Are you someone who gets excited and jumps straight ahead to executing a goal? We love the motivation but encourage you to first spend some time and effort in formulating your goal the right way. In her recent blog post — stay inspired and motivated on your journey to #FINDYOURFIT — Body&Fit ambassador, personal trainer and online fitness coach, Shelly Wubbe, discusses the importance and how-to's of SMART goals. Check it out and have a go at implementing this method into your New Year’s resolution planning!
Mistake #3: you're trying to sprint
You're motivated to start off the new year on the right foot. That's great, but don't give it all on the 1st of January if that means you're already tired of it the day after. Make sure the timeframe of your resolution is realistic. It's good to challenge yourself, but there's a fine line between challenging and realistic. To lose (or gain) 4 pounds a week, for example, is neither a realistic nor healthy goal.
Solution: run a marathon
No, we're not saying you should run 26.2 miles this year. Rather, approach your resolutions like a marathon instead of a sprint. Breaking up bigger goals into smaller, more realistic ones that you’re able to achieve month by month makes it easier and more enjoyable to stick to your newly set goals.
Mistake #4: you're not building habits
Reached your goal? Good! But, what's next? Maybe you've lost those 5 pounds like you wanted, but if you didn't build new habits along the way, you’ll struggle to keep the result or continue to push yourself towards more challenging goals throughout the rest of the year.
Solution: make your New Year’s resolution a habit
The key to building habits lays largely in understanding how habits work in your brain. We all know what a habit is (there’s no shame in admitting we've all got good and bad ones), but how is a habit formed? Is it possible to stop relying on willpower and let your brain take over? Once again, Shelly Wubbe dives into these questions and more in her ready for anything — building great health & fitness habits blog post. Enjoy the read and think about how you can build great habits out of your New Year’s fitness resolutions.
Is it OK to have no New Year’s fitness resolutions?
For many, it’s a tradition to go around the dinner table on New Year’s Eve and share your goals with family and friends. This can be motivational and inspiring. After all, these are the people who will help you reach your goals, whether it's by joining you on a run, or giving you the emotional support you need to eat healthy. It's also fine to keep your resolutions private or... to have no New Year's resolutions at all. If you're happy with your way of living or just not the type that radically changes their routine overnight, don't feel pressured to make resolutions just because others do.
Remember, even though you think you have no goals, chances are you're just not aware of them. It's human nature to work towards something, however small it may be. Resolutions don’t always need to be health or fitness related, either. Maybe you're eager to meet new people, discover new recipes, or give your grandparents a call more often. If you need more time to figure out what you want to work towards, don't feel pressured by the New Year. It’s OK to take your time.
How to get a head start on your New Year's fitness resolutions
Ever looked at old pictures of yourself and wished you had the body you had back then? Well, we challenge you to work on your mindset and start appreciating yourself — on the inside and out — right now. This way, when 2023 comes, you can look back once again and be proud of who you were and how far you’ve come. Just because you haven't reached your goals yet, doesn't mean you shouldn't appreciate YOU, as you are, today.
What are the top 3 New Year's fitness resolutions and how can Body&Fit inspire you?
We've put together a collection of our content and advice from the past year surrounding the most common New Year's resolutions to help you get inspired and motivated for 2022. Don't hesitate to create your own unique goals and combine advice from multiple blogs!
Body&Fit ambassador, personal trainer and online fitness coach, Shelly Wubbe, lays down the mechanisms of losing weight and explains how to do it in a healthy, sustainable way in train with Shelly: how to lose weight the healthiest way. Discover our favourite Body&Fit products for losing weight — including Body&Fit Low Calorie Meal, Low Calorie Bar and Glucomannan — and learn about replacing fat with muscle, energy balance, and whether you can eat chocolate and still lose weight (spoiler alert: yes, you can!).
Did you know there are different body types and that there's a unique way to build muscle for each of them? Body&Fit Nutrition Expert, personal trainer and health coach, Jesper Rietmeijer, explains all in his beginners guide to bulking and building muscle mass. Jesper uses Body&Fit Whey Isolate XP along with Body&Fit Crazy Pre-Workout to support his goals. The question is — will it be a clean bulk or a dirty bulk this winter?
Improving your mindset
Are you stuck in a vicious, toxic cycle of guilt around food? Find your happy foodie fit with Lisa — Body&Fit Nutritionist and holistic nutrition coach — and get inspired by how she turned things around and created a positive mindset around food. Read about a day in the life of a holistic nutritionist and the Body&Fit products Lisa like to use to stay healthy and happy. Body&Fit Natural Peanut Butter, Vegan Perfection Bar and our Omega-3, Chia and Flaxseed Mix are just a few of her favourites.
We're checking in on your New Year’s resolutions mid-year
Don't worry, you're not in this alone. We’ll check in to see how your New Year's resolutions are going mid-year. Make sure to track your progress and stay tuned @bodyandfit_official. We'll be there to help you out whether you’re on track, in need of an extra dose of motivation, or reached your goals already and in need of some new challenges to see out the year.
So, let’s get started. Think realistic, think intrinsic, and think SMART. This new year is all about YOU, and we’re here to give you all the inspiration and motivation you need to go out there and take it on in your own unique way. If you're shy on workout plans, browse our workout page for all kinds of home or gym workout plans, and recover stronger than ever with all kinds of delicious recipes specially designed by our Nutrition Experts.
Above all, have a Merry Fitness and a Happy YOU year from everyone at Body&Fit!