12 January 2021

“New year, new me!” How many times have we heard this, or made New Year's Resolutions? Then, after coming up with these grand plans, how often do we find we forget about them in a couple of months, or they lose priority when life gets busy? The classic example of this is making New Year's Resolutions to improve your health by signing up to the gym, jumping onto healthy eating plans/diets, and roping your best friend into a wacky new fitness craze. We’ve all been there: waking up on the 1st of January and remembering the plans and goals we set for ourselves the night before, reflecting on our previous year’s missed opportunities, and VOILA! We are signing up to a gym the next day to kickstart the year. Often gyms feed into this, with deals highlighting the New Year’s gym and fitness resolutions; everything from signing up with no joining fee or paying half price for a certain period of time, to deals on online programs, and products designed to make sticking to your plans as easy as possible. But is it really that easy to stick to our plans? The research says no, but maybe improving your approach to keeping your resolutions can help you make the most of the year ahead.


Research into the idea of resolutions has shown that people who make resolutions base them mostly around health and wellness, followed by money or stress reduction. In Britain, people tend to focus on goals related to completing more exercise, losing weight, and improving their diets, followed by wanting to save money (YouGov, 2020). America follows a similar trend, with health-related resolutions being most popular (for example, to exercise more often, and to eat healthier foods (YouGov, 2020)). Research has identified that the majority of people who make resolutions tend to have health-based goals, but often these are not met. The YouGov survey found there were trends based on age ranges and gender in relation to types of goals set; for example, females were more likely to set exercise-related goals compared to males (58% vs 44%) and were also more likely to set weight loss related goals (51% vs 30%). However, males were more likely to set goals that related to smoking or drinking less compared to females, with males between 18-34 years old aiming to stop or reducing drinking the most. 


In Canada, of those surveyed by YouGov in 2019, only 5% stuck to all of their resolutions, compared to 15% of people who stuck to some of their resolutions but not all of them. This may be because too many resolutions were set, the resolutions weren’t realistic to the timeframe, lifestyle or ability of an individual, or perhaps these resolutions lost appeal as the year progressed. Building and maintaining a habit such as hitting the gym six times per week, eating nothing but carrot juice during a cleanse to kickstart weight loss, or taking part in bootcamps and 8-week challenges straight off the bat may be making these resolutions difficult to maintain. This can become especially challenging if you have limited experience with fitness, or have limited understanding of the processes needed to be successful in reaching these health and fitness goals.


Here is where you, as a personal trainer, can help! With your knowledge of personal training, taking pre-screens, and developing SMART goals, this can be a great way to develop your skills further while helping others. Applying your knowledge to your friends and family members to help them identify their resolutions, and helping them come up with a realistic plan on how to reach these goals, can be a great way for you to apply what you are learning and get real-world practical experience. This can also be a way to help you develop as a trainer, move towards your business goals, or grow your knowledge in this area.


For me this year, I’ll be striving to be more consistent! I am sharing this with you all, as well as sharing with my work colleagues and my friends, so they canl help to keep me accountable and focused so I can make the most of this coming year.


What do I mean by this goal? It will relate to anything I can and will do. Rather than striving for perfection with each idea or task I attempt, I will aim to be consistent in the learning process, consistent through the tough patches, and consistent with the outcomes. Nothing is perfect, and life can be difficult, but aiming for consistency will help me to make the most of the coming year.


What are your goals? Who is keeping you accountable?


Getting involved with others when setting goals - whether that is signing on to be coached, working casually with someone, or being an accountability buddy for your bestie - is a great way to broaden your ideas. This can help you to stay on track and have a successful year, knowing what you are wanting to achieve and breaking it down to figure out how to get there. Bring on 2021!


“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” — Robin Sharma

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Michelle Murphy