How to Make Better Fitness New Year Resolutions

Learn how to make better choices when creating your New Year’s resolutions list for your fitness goals so you can check off every goal in your list!

How to Make Better Fitness New Year Resolutions
7 min. read 12/15/2023, 4:45 PM

Everyone has something that they want to achieve in the upcoming year, no matter how big or small. For some, it might be finding a better-paying job, or finally getting to travel to that one spot that they’ve been dreaming of visiting. For active people, like our readers, fitness resolutions probably take the top spot!

If you’ve been there before, you already know that the hardest part of creating a new year’s resolution list is actually sticking with it until the end instead of giving up halfway through. That said, there’s a way to make sure that you stay on track with your goals this new year, and that’s making better choices when creating your list!

Instead of just writing down what you want to achieve and crossing your fingers hoping to get there, we’ll help you set clear and attainable goals as well as give you a few tips to make it easier for you to stick with your goals and ultimately achieve them. So keep reading!

Set SMART fitness resolutions

It’s very easy to say “I want to get stronger” or “I want to get leaner” and just have that as your resolution, but ambiguous goals like these make it difficult to follow through because there isn’t a clear plan in place, just an idea.

When deciding your fitness goals for the new year, you should make sure that they are not only smart but SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound:

  • A specific goal is detailed and to the point.
  • A measurable goal is one that you can keep track of easily.
  • An attainable goal is realistic and achievable.
  • A relevant goal matters to you and makes sense with your lifestyle.
  • A time-bound goal has specific deadlines.

This method will help you make sure that your new year fitness resolutions are not an impossible feat, but rather well-formulated goals that make it easier to plan a workout around them. This is the best strategy to follow when setting up new goals, so make sure to read our detailed guide to SMART fitness goals to help you get started!

Aim for daily or weekly micro goals

If you’re not familiar with micro goals or mini goals, they’re simply smaller goals that will help you achieve your bigger goals in the long run. Once you’ve used the SMART method to decide your main goal or goals for the year, setting a few micro goals that you can achieve daily or weekly will help you stay on track during your journey!

For example, if your main resolution this year is to lose 20 pounds, then a good weekly micro goal would be losing 1 or 2 pounds per week. For daily goals, you could challenge yourself to do at least 15 minutes of physical activity per day, or reach your macro target for the day to make sure you’re supporting your journey with the necessary nutrients!

Write your goals down

There are a few reasons why writing down your goals is so important, particularly if you do so by hand on a notebook or whiteboard and not just on your phone!

The most obvious one is that by writing them down you won’t forget about them. It’s one thing to want something and keep it in the back of your mind, but having it visually displayed somewhere will help you stay focused, particularly on those days when you might not feel as enthusiastic to get things done as usual.

Another big reason is that, when you write them down, you get a moment to reflect on those goals, analyze them, and see how you can strategize to get them done faster or more effectively. On top of writing them down, make sure to also keep track of your goals as you go so you can see your progress in real-time!

Get a late start

Are you in a rush to start scratching things off of your resolutions list? We’re sure you want to make things happen and are very excited about it, but immediately readjusting to a new routine for your goals after the holiday season might not be the best or most effective idea.

You probably just spent the last couple of weeks with your family and friends, eating delicious food and overall relaxing after all the pre-holiday stress. Instead of going all out as soon as the new year begins, try to sit back and reflect on the past year, and think about what you achieved and what you want to achieve in the future.

It’s fine if you don’t begin working on your resolutions right away – you need to work on getting into the right mindset first. After all, your resolutions aren’t going anywhere!

Start slow and work your way up

This one goes hand in hand with getting a late start because you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid early burnout. By starting slow, you can make sure your body has enough time to get used to the new routine before you can gradually start increasing the intensity.

Let’s say your goal is to be able to eventually run a 10K marathon. If you begin your training by going on a run every single day, you might get burned out in a matter of weeks or even days. Take it slow at first by going on a short run a couple of times a week and hopping on the treadmill for a few minutes per day to start building your resistance – then you can go at it harder!

Figure out your “why”

The biggest obstacle when it comes to New Year's resolutions is that people usually want to get everything done as soon as possible, or start as intensely as possible to avoid “losing motivation”. If you rely on motivation to get stuff done, you already started on the wrong foot, because motivation won’t last for a long time!

Figuring out why you want to reach your fitness goals and how they’re going to help you feel better or live better is the key to any successful fitness journey, particularly one that starts in the new year. Grab a notebook, write down your reasons, and keep going back to them throughout your journey anytime you feel like you don’t want to keep going!

Create a reward system

Last but not least, while achieving your goals is a reward on its own, it might be a while before you can make it. Some goals are easier to obtain, but for those that might be a few weeks or months away, having a reward system can help you stay focused!

A reward system for your fitness journey could look like many things. For example, if you’re on a weight loss journey then you’re probably staying away from some not-so-healthy foods such as junk food. Every time you hit a milestone, such as achieving a weekly micro goal, you could treat yourself to your favorite fast food place – always keeping it moderate!

And most importantly… Try to have fun!

As the new year approaches, try your best to have a good attitude about your future goals. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself when working toward your resolutions and make sure you’re enjoying the journey. If you start feeling dreadful instead of excited, it might be time to take some time off to reflect. Always listen to your body!