ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, Expert Advice: Why Your Fitness Resolution Won't Stick and How to Fix It

Expert Advice: Why Your Fitness Resolution Won't Stick and How to Fix It

Reading Time: 5 minutes 20 seconds

By: ISSA

Date: 2023-01-17


New year, new you! The first couple weeks of January show a lot of promise for people working on New Year’s resolutions. However, that success often starts to slow and completely stalls toward the end of the month and into February. 

How can you stick to your resolution and make it a long-term habit? Here are nine common resolution problems and some real-world tips to help you achieve your health and fitness goals:

  • Failing to Change Your Environment

  • Not Preparing Enough

  • Choosing Unrealistic Resolutions

  • Aiming for Perfection

  • Lacking Support

  • Focusing Only on Results

  • Over Planning and Overworking

  • Underestimating Super Bowl Sunday 

  • Wanting a Magic Bullet Solutions

Failing to Change Your Environment

People are creatures of habit, and our environment plays a huge role in how we live our lives. If you want to keep up with your New Year's health and fitness resolutions, it is important that you change your environment so that it supports healthy habits and discourages unhealthy ones. 

This can include things like stocking your kitchen with nutritious food, getting rid of junk food, and setting up an organized home gym. Changing your environment can make it easier for you to stick with your resolutions and reach your goals.

Michael Fischer, Founder, Elite HRT

Not Preparing Enough

It's no surprise that every January brings an influx of motivated individuals ready to make positive changes in their health and fitness resolutions. Yet, despite their enthusiasm, come February, many find themselves in a familiarly unmotivated state and have already abandoned their goals. 

Why? You guessed it—lack of preparation! 

So often, individuals dive into new year's health and fitness resolutions without proper planning. They cannot build the habits needed to stay on track and sustain the resolution long-term, which leads to failure or quitting altogether. Fitness experts know that creating realistic plans with attainable goals is key to success regarding New Year's health and fitness resolutions.

Ryan Rottman, Co-Founder & CEO, OSDB Sports

Learn more: Setting Fitness Goals is the Key to Long-Term Success

Choosing Unrealistic Resolutions

As a fitness instructor, one thing I've seen many people do is to opt for an unrealistic resolution that will be so difficult to attain. Instead, it is better to start off with small steps and build on them one step at a time until they achieve their long-term goals without getting discouraged and constantly seeing results that motivate them to keep going.

John Gardner, Co-Founder & CEO, Kickoff

Aiming for Perfection

One of the most common reasons that people quit or fail their New Year's health and fitness resolutions are that they are trying to be perfect. When they miss a day at the gym, they consider it a failure. 

Instead, a better mindset is to be consistent. Know and understand that there will be days and weeks that aren't perfect. You will miss the gym, you will have cheat meals. That's all a part of life!

Overall consistency is the key to your health and fitness goals. Focus on being consistent as much as possible and ditch the mindset of trying to be perfect every day. Consistency is what will get meaningful results toward your goals.

Macy Westlund, Wellness Expert, Macy Michelle

Lacking Support

One of the main reasons people cannot stick to their New Year's health and fitness resolutions is a lack of support. Without cheerleaders encouraging them along the way, they find it challenging to stay on track and build up consistent, healthy habits. 

While making these resolutions may be quite inspirational at the moment, building long-term habits requires continual reinforcement and support from others. This can include family or friends, an accountability group, or even professional guidance from fitness experts who can provide the knowledge needed to make those New Year's goals a reality!

Jimmy Minhas, Founder & CEO, GerdLi

Learn more: Accountability is the key to success!

Focusing Only on Results

One common mistake we see a lot when people are planning their New Year's health and fitness goals is focusing on results rather than the process. Whilst it can motivate to have an overarching end point in mind like a target weight or a goal marathon time, what really matters is the process you undertake to get there. 

There will always be factors you can't control, and focusing on the process helps you stay engaged, motivated, and accountable for what you can do to make progress. Without an achievable and realistic process, many people can become easily discouraged when the results are slower to come than expected and then give up. 

Perhaps ‌setting goals related to the process is usually a better bet for your long-term health and fitness, as there is no endpoint for the process. This means that even when you achieve your target weight or goal race time, you can continue to focus on the process and keep up your healthy habits for the long term.

John White, Director, We Run

Over Planning and Overworking

A new year with new fitness goals needs to have a new tempo. Just like any new thing you plan to start, trying to rush into things at full throttle will only cause you to burn out. This is a problem that many people run into when committing to a new fitness goal for the new year. You don't need to start your year off with muscle pain and fatigue, you'll just be killing your motivation along with your body. 

Instead, start things off slow, pace yourself, and build up to your fitness goal. You've got an entire year to get yourself in peak shape; there isn't any need to stuff it all into one month.

Max Ade, CEO, Pickleheads

Underestimating Super Bowl Sunday

People who take on a New Year's Day resolution to eat healthier and exercise more often stick with that program for a month with little issue. Even if you go to a birthday party or some other function in mid-January, during which you drink and eat heavily, you'll get back on the wagon as early as the following morning. 

Based on my experience, the date on which people fall off the wagon the most is Super Bowl Sunday. You attend a party with a massive spread and all the beer and soda you can drink. Then comes the Monday after. On that day, that January 1 mindset feels like a long time ago. 

You feel hungry again because you loaded up on carbs the day before. You feel unmotivated to go on that run or go to the gym, and you take a break from your routine. That daylong break turns into two days, which turns into a week, and before you know it, you're back to your old habits. Super Bowl Sunday is a pivotal day. Don't overlook it or underestimate it.

Juan Pablo Cappello, Co-Founder & CEO, Nue Life

Wanting a Magic Bullet Solution

Because it's difficult to achieve long-term health and fitness goals, many people look for quick and easy solutions that promise fast results without having to put in much effort or time. 

Unfortunately, these unrealistic expectations can lead people to quit their resolutions altogether when they don't see the results they expect. To avoid this problem, it's important to set realistic goals and be persistent in your efforts to achieve them. 

By focusing on slight changes instead of trying to overhaul your lifestyle all at once, you'll be able to make lasting improvements that will help you stay on track not just throughout the year, but for the long term as well.

Michael Hamlin, Founder, EverFlex Fitness

Bonus Tip: Educate Yourself!

If you’re trying to eat better and get fit, what better way to motivate yourself than to increase your knowledge?! The more you learn, the more tools you’ll have to help you achieve your goals. Get started with ISSA’s Personal Trainer course to learn the essentials of anatomy, how to build custom training programs, how to prevent injury, how diet and exercise work together, and more. 


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