Health and Fitness

The Secret To Sticking To Your New Year Fitness Goals

How to avoid having the same old regrets this February, according to Esquire's fitness columnist

January is a time for new starts, whether it's in work life, home life, or health. It’s not unusual for gyms and bootcamps up and down the country to see enquiries treble in the first month of the year.

However, talk to any trainer and they’ll tell you that come the end of February, a significant number of these new super keen fitness buffs have already fallen off the wagon. So how do you avoid being one of them?

Making drastic, wholesale changes to your exercise or eating habits for the entire year ahead is difficult. If you were relatively inactive in 2018, committing to a 6 day a week intensive PT program in 2019 is not very realistic. Similarly, if you’ve grown up on three square meals a day, switching to six meals you carry around in little Tupperware boxes is probably not going to last either. The same can be said for eliminating entire food groups. We used to blame all evil on fats, then it was carbs. Currently, it's meat.

Be kind, but firm to yourself.

The major problem with the 'new year, new me' approach is that when you slip up, the perception is that the ‘plan’ has failed so you scrap the entire project.

I am often asked the question: ‘whats the best training program for x, y, z.’ No matter what the goal, the real answer to that question is: the one that you’ll stick with consistently.

Like all good things in sport, health and fitness, there's a handy acronym for effective goal-setting. When figuring out your January lifestyle makeover, ask yourself: is this goal SMART. In other words, is it"



"Be more healthy" is quite a vague target. Join a football team, complete a 10k, or even get to one belt notch further in than last year lends some specificity to the goal.


Very neatly tying in with the above, goals must be measurable or else how to we ever know when its achieved? "Looking better" is not really a quantifiable goal, but "adding 5kgs to my benchpress" or "perform 10 pullups" definitely is.


It's important to be honest with yourself. At 39 years old, I’m unlikely ever to play centre forward for Newcastle United (even if they do get relegated). But a realistic goal for me currently is to improve my hip mobility whilst maintaining deadlift and squat strength.


This may be slightly less of a concern if your goal is to improve overall health and fitness. But suffice to say, the goal we set should have some bearing on the outcome we desire. If you want to run your first marathon, then setting a goal of improving your jump shot accuracy will be of limited use.


Really simple, this one. Unless we put a timeline on things, we can simply keep kicking our goals into the long grass and putting it off till next week. Setting a time limit to a goal keeps things on track.

So: my advice for making those resolutions last is to be kind, but firm to yourself. That way when time for new year resolutions 2020 comes around, you'll be ready for it.

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* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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About The Author
Luke Worthington
Luke Worthington is an Elite Master Trainer and Trainer Educator at Third Space Group. He's also a former professional rugby player and a former world endurance record holder.
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