Do New Year's Resolutions really suck?

January 1, 2020



With the New Year comes new beginnings.  We all know it’s a cliché to set life changing goals once a year in January, and yet we still all do it.  I’ve noticed a trend over the last few years of people bashing resolution setting, saying it’s pointless as you’ll rarely stick with it, but I don’t agree.


I’ve been a Personal Trainer for nearly ten years now, and working in the fitness industry for nearly fourteen years, so it’s fair to say I’ve seen a few Januarys in the gym in my time.  I have to be honest, this time of year really inspires me.


So what if it’s cliché to set big goals in the New Year?  If it helps start the building blocks of change, I’m all for the New Year’s resolution.


In many ways, it doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve what you set out to do at the start of the year, just that it inspires doing something new and different for a while.


If person A sets a goal of climbing mount Everest, but they ‘only’ spend two or three months climbing mountains, was that a bad goal?  I argue that it wasn’t.  The big goal made you go out and do more and new things that you hadn’t done or planned before.


If person A had kept their goal small and had just aimed to climb the hill outside their house, they may have achieved it but it wouldn’t have had them doing more.


The New Years Resolution in health and fitness are always big goals because they reflect our motivation at that time, moving into the new year, full of too much turkey.  If that big goal gets you into a gym or has you eating better for a month or two, that’s still a win in my book.


The mistake most people make, however, is beating themselves up when they don’t stick with the changes they’ve made.  I call this the ‘F*ck it’ principle.

What is the F*ck it principle?

Imagine you’ve been perfect, eating well, training five times per week, and then on Friday night you eat one biscuit.  You’re SO pissed at yourself.  You’ve ruined all that good work (in reality you haven’t) so you go ‘f*ck it!’  and you eat the whole pack.


But now you’ve eaten a whole pack of biscuits right?  Now you REALLY feel like you’ve ruined it.  So now it’s ‘F*CK IT!!’ and the entire weekend becomes a binge fest.  By Monday, you’re not in the mood to eat well, you’ve set yourself back to square one so why did you bother in the first place and you give up.

If you wanted to cycle the length of the Britain, which normally takes around 14 days, and got about 3 days in and then took a wrong turning which put you two hours behind schedule, would you give up on the journey?  Or would you take a different route, albeit slightly slower.

What if, your New Years Resolution set out the dream, the destination, but the method, goal and duration were flexible.  Sometimes you take some wrong turns, get annoyed at yourself a bit, but get back on track. 


I love setting resolutions in January.  It’s a time of fresh starts and big goals and it’s inspiring to see so many people making those changes.  Many argue that setting goals in January is pointless because people never achieve them. 


I disagree. 


Anything that makes you positive about something is a win, however motivation doesn’t last forever.  When motivation fades and things go a little off track, don’t sweat it.  Roll with the punches and keep moving forwards when and if you can.  By focusing on this mindset, and being away of the ‘F*ck it* principle, you’ll make this year better than ever!


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