I’m going to be a bit controversial here: New year’s resolutions rarely stick.

So many people hope it’s the TIME of year that will be the reason why they are finally going to change. They believe the motivation that naturally comes at the start of a new year will be enough to enough for them to get in shape, lose weight and eat healthier. But, unfortunately, that is rarely true.

Did you know 73% of Australians made new year’s resolutions… but only 8% manage to keep them?

I’m not saying your new year’s resolution for 2024 won’t come to reality. What I am saying is that success doesn’t come because of the date on a calendar, success comes when you have a plan, and you follow it!

How to set achievable new year’s resolutions that will actually last.

 The good news is that there are some tried and true ways to make this healthier ‘new you’ last past January, and keep on going right throughout the entire year.

Break your goals down into 4 week blocks (or 28 days)

If you’ve got 40kgs to lose, setting a weightloss goal of 40kg might seem like an intimidating goal, but if you say to yourself “I’m going to lose 4kg” in the next 4 weeks and you do that and then you do it again – before you know it you’ve lost 8 kgs, and that big 40kg goal doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Find a plan you can trust that works for you

Find a simple eating & exercise system that makes it easy to start (if it takes too long to understand, you might not get around to starting!) Make sure that it’s something that works for YOU! Remember, this is your resolution and your journey so the plans you put in place need to be what’s best for you. To find out more about how my 28 Program could work for you click here.

Find Your Why

The reality is, motivation is temporary. You need to find your why. It can’t be somebody else’s, it has to be what is truly important to you. Nobody wakes up every single day excited to do a workout, but if your why is that you need to get fitter so you can keep up with your kids, then that why becomes your best reason to get that workout done.  So on days when the going gets tough and you’d rather go back to your old unhealthy habits, just get back in touch with your why, and suddenly sticking to your new year’s resolution gets easier.

How do I keep my new year’s resolution to lose weight?

One way that you can keep your resolutions to lose weight is to focus on the goals that you can control. “Life” will always get in the way, so to reduce the impact of life happening, it’s easier to set goals around things we can control. For example, instead of saying I will lose 5kg by Easter, your goal could be to:

  • Move your body every day for a week, and then every day for the next 2 weeks, then every day for another 28 days, etc…
  • No drinking alcohol through the week
  • Swap your soft drink for water

These small changes WILL all add up

New year’s resolution to get back in shape

If you want to make a new year’s resolution to get back in shape, it’s always best to set achievable and measurable goals. For most people, simply taking that first step is the hardest part, but if you put a couple of the following points in play you’ll be on the path to getting back in shape for 2024 before you know it!

When it comes to embarking on a new health and fitness journey, you don’t need to be fit to get started, you just need to start.

Set SMART goals and work in 28 day blocks

28 days is long enough that you can see results but not so long that you’ll lose focus. Just remember, goals need to be specific and measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.

Accept that motivation fluctuates

Most people that struggle with motivation very wrongly assume that those in shape don’t. Everyone fluctuates with their motivation, me included. It’s the workouts that we do when we don’t want to that count the most.

Practice “progress not perfection”

You need to acknowledge that if you try and be perfect it won’t last.
Perfection is not sustainable & you are far better off being an 8/10 in your training and nutrition than trying to be a 10/10 and failing.

When you exercise, mix it up

One friend loves to lift another loves Pilates? Fantastic. It can be easy to get into a rut if you force yourself to do workouts you don’t enjoy. Variety and consistency are key; try a few things to find what works for you.

How to succeed if your new year’s resolution is to eat healthier

If one of your goals for the new year is to start eating healthier and lose weight then one of the best places to start making changes is in your pantry. Your pantry can either be your best friend or your worst enemy, so we’ve pulled together our top tips to make sure that you set yourself up for a success!

1. Get rid of the processed stuff

Starting fresh means clearing out the nasties! Any packaged or processed foods which contain an abundance of refined ingredients need to go in the bin. The easiest way to do this? Check the labels, if there is anything you don’t recognise, it’s probably time to bin it.

2. Stock up on healthy staples

Re-stock your pantry with ingredients that will make preparing healthy meals as easy as possible.  These are ingredients which have minimal human interference and retain the highest quality of nutrients. When it comes to pantry items, take note of ingredients which you will be using frequently and buy these staple items in bulk to save you money. Above all else, keep foods which will not serve your resolution out of sight or even better, don’t bring them back into the house!

3. Make room in your fridge

Fridge and pantry go hand in hand, so while you’re cleaning up your pantry’s act, you should be tackling the fridge as well. With a focus on eating real foods, you’ll be using a lot more fridge space, so make sure the two work in unison.

4. Store everyday items front and centre

Store dry goods in glass jars or airtight containers to help maintain the shelf life and avoid spoilage. A great tip is to place items which you use frequently at eye level so that when you walk into the pantry needing an ingredient for your favourite meal you can easily find it and not be distracted by other ingredients. Looking for more tips on how to make healthy eating easy? Check out my top meal prepping tips.

How to create healthy new year’s resolutions that last all year

No matter what your specific healthy new year’s resolutions are, there are definitely a few tips you can implement to help make them last!

#1 Set your health & fitness goals in 28-day blocks

No more, no less. 28 days is long enough that you can see results, but not so long that you’ll lose focus. Just remember, goals need to be specific and measurable. 

#2 Create some simple rules around your healthy eating resolutions

These rules don’t have to be rigid, all-or-nothing deal-breakers that make it hard to stick to your guns. They could simply involve increasing your water intake, cutting down on caffeine, drinking less alcohol or resisting the office biscuit tin at 3pm.

#3 Develop some easy rules to keep you on track with your fitness resolutions

The best advice I give to all my clients is to commit to doing something active every day for 28 days. This doesn’t mean you need to train like an Olympian or sweat like a maniac Monday through to Sunday. Your daily movement could involve yoga, a bike ride, walking the dog, getting active with the family or swimming a couple of laps at the local pool.

#4 Always make time for your mind

A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body. In fact, a healthy mind helps you achieve a healthy body, and vice versa! You don’t have to retreat to the mountains and chant for hours but you do have to set aside some time for mindfulness. This could involve journal-writing, spending five minutes focusing on your breath to wind down before bed or dedicating some time to goal setting. If you get your mind in the right place, your body will follow.

#5 Make yourself accountable by sharing your goals with people you trust

When you’ve decided what your New Year’s resolutions are going to be, tell people about it. Explain what you are going to do, why it’s important to you, and how you’re going to do it.

Studies have shown that when we tell people what we are setting out to achieve, we are far more likely to achieve it.

As an extra tip, make sure you’ve told people who care about you enough to call you on your BS if they see you slipping, it will really help you stay on track.

#6. Remember a healthy lifestyle does not have a finish line

When you reach day 28, take a deep breath and reflect on your progress. See where you have succeeded and where there are improvements to be made. Then set yourself a new 28-day block and a new 28-day goal. Take this opportunity to challenge yourself and build on the progress you have made.

Even though you may have failed new year’s resolutions in the past, the important thing to remember is your past failures do not dictate your future results. Separate the old you with what you want to achieve. Don’t let baggage and bad memories of past experiences derail this one

If you decide to join a fitness or weight loss program, make sure it doesn’t demonize entire food groups, or ban you from all the things you love, like a morning coffee! Take it from me and the 150,000 people my 28 program has helped: yes, you can get fit, lose weight and reach your health goals and still have the occasional mindful indulgence.

Ready for a fitter, healthier you?

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Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.