Data from 800 million user-uploaded exercise activities suggests that most people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions around January 19th.
We set our resolutions with the intention of long term personal improvement, so learning this can feel a little disappointing.
Luckily there are some things we can do to avoid falling into this statistic.
In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your 2022 New Year’s Resolutions stick.
Here’s what to expect:
- First, Conduct a Year In Review
- Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail & How To Set Yours The Right Way
- How to Make Your Resolutions Achievable: Lessons From the book Atomic Habits
- Steal our Health & Fitness New Year’s Resolutions … and The Systems To Make Them Stick
First, Conduct a Year in Review
If we want to make our resolutions stick, we have to set them with intention.
Looking back on the last 12 months will help us get clear on what areas we want to improve and why - making our resolutions stronger when it’s time to set them.
After all, how do we know where we want to go if we don’t take an honest look at where we’re starting? Without this reflection, we might make resolutions that aren’t actually the most meaningful to us, making us less likely to succeed with them.
We know looking back to what we did even two weeks ago is challenging, so here are some tips to look back on your life in 2021.
Check your Photos
What do you use to back up your photos?
Whether you use iCloud, Google Photos, an external hard drive or even your Instagram posts and stories archive - chances are, your life is somewhat well documented by the random snaps you took over the last year.
With a pen and paper in hand, look back on the photos you took each month of 2021.
For every month, write in point form everything that stands out.
Did you go on any weekend trips? Hiking adventures? Winter sports? Delicious food? Gym selfies? Deadlift PR videos?
Take note of the people, activities and commitments that triggered peak positive and negative emotions for that month.
What do you use to track your workouts?
Whether it’s Strava, FitBit or an Apple Watch, chances are you used a tool to help keep track of your work-outs.
Which months were you most consistent, and what were you doing?
Which months did you fall off the wagon, and what could have hurt your consistency?
Journals can contain so much insight… if we use them consistently.
If you kept a journal logging your life in 2021, flip through the pages and go back in time.
What people, activities and commitments led to feeling healthy and having positive emotions?
What areas did you write about wanting to improve?
After taking notes for each month of 2021, look at your list.
Which were the items causing the highest levels of positive emotions? Which caused the most negative emotions?
And there you have it - your first hints at what resolutions you should set, and the historical precedent behind them.
Why Most New Year’s Resolutions Fail &
How To Set Them The Right Way
While nearly half of all Americans say they make New Year’s resolutions, only 8% reported success in achieving their goals. Why is it so hard to make our resolutions stick?
Here’s what we think:
Solution: Be more specific.
The resolution to “exercise more” could be improved by making it measurable.
“Run a 5K in mid March 2022.”
“Do a morning work-out 3 times a week.”
“Squat 3 sets of 5 reps of the equivalent of my bodyweight by mid May 2022.”
Give yourself a realistic timeline, then work backward and make a plan.
The way we frame things matters.
Which do you feel more inspired to do:
“Stop eating junk food.”
“I keep the fridge and pantry stocked with my favourite healthy snacks weekly.”
The way we talk to ourselves matters. A critical tone like ‘stop eating junk food’ will not inspire us toward the behaviour we desire, it’ll only make us feel worse about ourselves.
Bonus: By writing your resolution in the present tense, (In this case, “I keep…” instead of “I will keep…”) we are helping our subconscious visualize the goal already in action. This helps us take action easier.
Big changes like those you want to make with your 2022 New Year's Resolutions don't just happen.
They require continued effort despite the challenges you are guaranteed to meet.
It’s unnatural for us to keep going despite the challenges because being outside of our comfort zone is uncomfortable.
Here’s where having an accountability support system would help.
Do you have any like-minded friends who have similar goals and resolutions as you? Maybe it’s time to team up with them.
It could be as easy as a text message check-in every time you pick up your adjustable dumbbells for a morning work-out, or a selfie with every run.
Having someone to share in the wins and talk through the lows can help us achieve our highest growth.
Make Your Resolutions Achievable:
Lessons From James Clear’s Atomic Habits
Sticking to our 2022 New Year’s Resolutions is basically a matter of building good habits and breaking bad ones.
And James Clear’s book Atomic Habits is the most practical guide when it comes to habit formation.
Here are some of our takeaways from Atomic Habits.
We are setting ourselves up for disappointment if we put too much focus on the goals in our life and neglect the systems that we need to put in place to achieve them.
In other words - do whatever you can to make your good habits easier.
If your goal is to wake up earlier, go to sleep earlier.
If your goal is to eat healthier, make sure you only have healthy food at home.
If your goal is to pack a lunch to work, get inspired by a meal plan and some containers then set aside time every Sunday to meal prep.
If your goal is to work out more often, invest in a simple home gym set-up. A pair of adjustable dumbbells is all you need to level up your home work-outs.
If your goal is to go for a run in the morning once a week, set out all of your running clothes (socks and shoes included) and decide your route the night before.
We have all the technology available to help us succeed in habit formation. It’s very encouraging to see our progress measured in an app. Sharing our activities can also be a form of accountability.
And if you do break the chain, follow another golden tip from Atomic Habits - “Never miss twice.” It’s okay to miss a day… but get back on track as soon as possible.
The stories we tell about ourselves matter… and the stories we tell about ourselves are often based on our repeated patterns.
Every action we take is a micro-movement (or atomic habit) toward becoming the person we want to be.
We can decide which actions these are.
Steal our Health & Fitness Resolutions, and The Systems To Make Them Stick
Food is fuel. I nourish my body with healthy food so I can perform to my highest potential.
I visit the local market to get the freshest vegetables from local farms.
I carve out time every Sunday to prep and pack my meals for the week.
I keep my fridge and pantry stocked with healthy snacks to help me stay on track.
I have a meal plan that ensures I hit all the nutrients I need, tailored to my fitness goals.
I am the most consistent person I know. I wake up earlier 3 times a week to get a home work-out in before I start my 9-5.
I lay out my work-out clothes the night before so I don’t have to think about it in the morning.
I go to sleep earlier because I need enough rest to sustain this new habit.
Immediately after waking up, I chug a glass of water to get energized.
I put on my favourite Spotify work-out playlist to get inspired.
I grab my set of adjustable dumbbells which I use for challenging full body work-outs.
Heart health is important. I take my cardio more seriously and go for a run once a week.
I incorporate more super-sets and drop sets into my strength training work-outs because this improves cardio. This is easy to do with my adjustable dumbbells.
I build my cardio endurance with jump rope work-outs.
To get this habit started, I choose a day that I will go outside for a walk in my running gear around the block without fail every single week. Getting used to this will make it so much easier to just start running.
There’s no failing in the quest for self improvement.
If you break a resolution, don't beat yourself up and think you're a failure.
It's really hard to start a good habit, and you haven't failed if you keep trying.
Just start again, and again, and again… until it becomes easier and you become the person you once wanted to be.