When you make a New Year’s resolution, you’re setting yourself up to fail. It may sound strange coming from a personal trainer, but it’s true.

According to a recent study by the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of Americans actually achieve their resolution. That means 92 percent of Americans fail to reach their resolutions every year.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about your health. Your health should be one of your top priorities all year every year.

Why are New Year’s resolutions so hard to keep?

Wishes, Not Goals
When people make resolutions, most only have wishes and intentions in mind rather than clear goals. For example, one of the top three New Year’s resolutions for 2016 was “enjoy life to the fullest” (45.7 percent). This is an intention and something you wish for, not a goal. There is no way to measure your progress toward it or whether you have achieved it.

There are three key characteristics involved in creating attainable goals. Your goals need to be…

  1. Realistic
    Don’t dive into the New Year expecting to lose 80 pounds for the perfect bikini body by summertime. Setting such high expectations for yourself can actually be discouraging when you find yourself making very little progress. People who shoot for small goals throughout the course of the year tend to be more successful in achieving their desired results.
  2. Manageable
    Identify your limits. Spend some time developing a system for you to achieve your desired results. If you don’t have time to make lunch, explore healthier dining options instead of grabbing a greasy burger at the closest fast food joint.
  3. Measurable
    Take it one day at a time. The best way to visualize progress is to set aside a specific time each month to reflect on your improvement, whether testing your strength or recording your weight.

Lack of Motivation
People tend to focus on what they feel they should be doing or where they want to be in life rather than what they want to do. If your loved ones are pushing for you to quit smoking but you don’t want to, you’ll be less inclined to stick to that resolution. Success comes when you choose to set goals that you want to achieve.

Have fun achieving your goals. Taking walks or jogs in the neighborhood is much more entertaining than hopping on a treadmill. If your neighbors are outside, stop over and say hello. Maybe even arrange a dinner or plan a game night. Who knows…you may even get them involved in your daily routine. It’s always helpful to have a workout buddy.

Fear of Commitment
Many people truly believe they have commitment issues. What they don’t realize is that they just haven’t found the system that works best for them. Eating healthier doesn’t have to be about counting calories or cutting desserts from your diet. The solution could be something as simple as portion control.

Sometimes it’s not enough to try to hold yourself accountable when trying to achieve your goals. Sometimes you need a helping hand, someone to assert tough love to help keep you on track. Pairing with someone who shares similar goals can benefit you both. A personal trainer or nutrition coach can also help you stay accountable for your choices and on the right path to reaching your wellness goal before 2018.

​Don’t be another statistic in 2017! Instead of focusing on resolutions, set your sights on smaller goals, or benchmarks, in order to overcome your obstacles in the coming year.


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