New year, new you? That’s the philosophy a lot of people have when the calendar ticks over.
It’s an opportunity to realign your focus, set goals, and start living your best life. Most of us set new year’s resolutions designed to help us do just that. The problem is, these resolutions often don’t work out.
Instead of setting superficial goals with little thought behind them, you’re better off looking backwards, doing an analysis of how the previous year went, before crafting your fitness goals for the year ahead.
Keep reading and we’ll show you how.
Why Most New Year's Resolutions End in Failure
If you think there’s a big difference between attendance rates at your gym from January to February, it’s probably not your imagination.
Studies show a significant number of new year’s resolutions fail. In one study, 23% of resolutions didn’t even last one week.
There are a number of reasons why new year’s resolutions don’t work out. It’s usually because the person didn’t put any thought into why they want to achieve this goal, or how they can follow it through to completion.
The resolution could be unrealistic, which becomes unreachable once the high of the new year wears off. But even achievable goals fall to the wayside with a lack of planning, tracking, and accountability.
On the other hand, many people set goals that seem exciting at the moment but don’t align with their core motivation in life.
It’s different for each person. But the one way that anyone can increase the chance of their resolutions working out is by taking an in-depth look at the year that’s just passed, and planning their goals off the back of this.
What is a Year-End Review?
A year-end review is a chance to take stock of your progress and/or shortcomings from the last 12 months.
The aim is to get a true idea of where you stand, and what you’ve got to do to reach your goals in the coming year.
An honest year-end review will help you avoid setting unrealistic goals and identify what you need to do to reach your new goals.
How to Do a Fitness Year-End Review
Your year-end fitness review should cover three main topics:
- Things that went well
- Things that didn’t go well
- What you learned
With this information, you can set the right goals for next year, and right any wrongs from the previous year.
Here are some specific questions to answer in your year-end review:
What Were Your Successes?
Think of any wins from the previous year. Did you hit a new personal best? Build more muscle or lean out? Were you able to maintain a new fitness habit?
Use your wins from the last year to generate momentum into the next one.
Which Goals Did You Manage to Accomplish?
Think back on any goals you had this year. Which did you achieve?
Also, think about how you feel about achieving these goals. If you feel nothing about hitting your goals, they might be too small, or misaligned with your core motivation.
Which Goals Did You Fall Short On?
Think also about any goals you were not able to achieve. Big or small, be honest.
What Held You Back?
Now identify why you didn’t reach these goals, or what it was that prevented you from making more progress.
Perhaps you had injuries, you were too busy with work, you got bored, got distracted… take your time, and take an honest account of what you could avoid or improve on. This is not for beating yourself up, it’s for you to know yourself, and how you can do better next year.
How to Make Next Year the Best One Yet
With your year-end review in hand, you’re all set to make the right fitness goals, and best of all, follow them through to completion.
Here’s how to make the new year your best year.
Set New Goals
Now’s the fun part - setting your goals or new year’s resolutions.
Use what you learned from your yearly review to ensure these are the right goals. You want them to be ambitious enough to make you excited, yet realistic and achievable. They should also be goals you really care about, that align with your core motivation or desires in life.
Break Down Your Goals into Monthly and Weekly Goals
Bigger goals can be daunting, which is what causes a lot of people to give up on their resolutions early.
Ambitious goals are great, but you want to break these goals down into smaller, shorter-term goals that are easier to see.
If your goal is to lose 50 pounds over the year, break it down to the goal of losing one pound per week. If you want to go from never running to completing a half-marathon, start by running two miles, then set the goal of increasing your distance by one mile every month.
It’s much easier to climb a mountain by thinking of one camp at a time, rather than standing at the bottom and looking up at the summit.
Outline Daily Habits Needed to Keep You on Track
Break it down even more to the specific daily habits that will help you reach your goals.
If your goal is to lose weight, set a daily habit to work out at least 15 minutes per day, or hit a certain number of steps each day.
Motivation comes and goes. On those days where you’re not feeling it, just stick to your habits, and you’ll find you make a lot more progress overall.
Plan How to Avoid the Pitfalls of the Past Year
Refer to your year-end review, and where you went wrong. Think about why you didn’t reach your goals, or what slowed your progress.
Perhaps watching late-night Instagram reels caused you to have too many cheat meals, or you overtrained and burned yourself out.
We’re doomed to make the same mistakes unless we identify and address them.
Motivation - Why You Won't Give Up and Quit
The core motivation behind your goals is what will keep you going when it gets hard - when you’re dying for a burger, or struggling to hammer out your last few reps.
Think about how your life is going to get better when you hit your goals, as well as how you’re going to feel if you fail. Store this motivation and pull it out when you need it most.
Plan for Failures
Your path to success is not going to be straightforward. If it is, your goals aren’t big enough. Failures or setbacks are going to happen. Plan for this eventuality, and what you’re going to do to get back on track.
Get Friends/Family Involved
Accountability is the last key to achieving your goals. Failing yourself is easy - telling others, especially your loved ones, that you quit is much more difficult.
Let your friends and family know about your fitness goals and your year-end review, and listen to theirs as well.
The community effect of this is powerful, knowing you’re not alone, and people close to you are grinding for their own goals.
Most peoples’ resolutions are good for about a week or two, until they fall into the same habits, and live out the year like any other.
Don’t be like them. Take an honest look at the year that’s passed, so you can identify what worked, and what issues you need to correct.
That will help you craft the perfect fitness goals, with the right plan of how to achieve them, to make the next year a powerful and transformative one for you.