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Making New Year’s health and fitness resolutions stick

By The Health News Team | December 12, 2023
Making New Year's Resolutions Stick

As a new year approaches, it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. However, sometimes when setting health and wellness goals, we tend to be overambitious.

We set a goal to lift a certain amount of weight or lose a certain number of pounds, only to step into the gym once and never return. How can we prevent ourselves from burning out and losing track of our goals?

Brian Lehner is a certified strength and conditioning specialist and an exercise instructor at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital. He shares these four tips for sticking with your fitness resolutions:


Set an achievable yet challenging goal.

The key to setting goals is making sure they are SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based. To find a goal that fits this criteria, it’s important to know your “why.”

Start with your goal and then ask yourself why you've chosen that goal up to five times until you get to the root of your motivation — your "why." Here is an example:

Goal: I want to lose 25 pounds.

  • Why?

  • It would make me healthier

  • Why is that important?

  • Being healthier is important because if I don't lose the weight, I could have medical issues.

  • How does that make you feel?

  • I feel bad because if I develop medical issues, then I might not be around for my family.

  • Why is being there for your family important to you?

  • I want to see my kids grow up, get married and have children.

Understanding why your goals matter can help keep you focused. It can also help you make your broad goals more specific and achievable.


Don’t just focus on numbers.

Designing your goals around specific numbers, such as your ideal weight, can make your goal too rigid. This could cause you to get easily frustrated when the results do not show right away. Instead, center your goal on behavior changes that can help you become healthier in the long run.

Remember that there are habits that need to be learned and applied to achieve any goal. Look to see what habits might move you toward your goals.


Break it down.

Break down your goal into small, easy steps or mini goals. For example, if your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, start with 5,000 and work your way up from there.

Look for the smallest things you can do that will move you toward your big goal. Early success leads to better adherence.


Have an accountability partner.

Lehner recommends sharing your progress with a friend to help keep you motivated. This can also make working out a fun activity, rather than something you will feel like you have to do.

Sticking to goals is challenging for everyone. So it's important not to feel discouraged if you fall behind. Above all, Lehner says it’s vital not to beat yourself up if you get off track.

“Use the clean slate policy,” he says. “Just wipe the slate clean and get back into action.”

Learn more about exercise and fitness; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

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