New Year, Be You: How to set New Year’s Resolutions without Overwhelm

The new year brings with it a surge of motivation for many people. Let’s call this the resolution rush. The resolution rush has everyone excited to start fresh. The gym floor is crowded. Studio waitlists are packed. Seems like all anyone is talking about is how they’re going to make BIG changes this year. We’re confident this year will be different.

If the new year and all its potential is already stressing you out, use the tips below to help yourself set attainable resolutions or share these tips with your clients to help them set intentions for 2023.

How to set goals in the new year without feeling overwhelmed:

Build upon existing habits. This is my favorite tip to share with my clients because they always are surprised at how well it works! Start by evaluating your current habits. What’s your morning or nighttime routine? Now what are new habits you can tack onto those existing routines? Need help remembering to take your medication but never forget to brew your morning coffee? Set your medication next to the Keurig. Getting dressed, brushing your teeth, checking your emails, your day is full of existing habits you can use to help build consistency with new behaviors. This tip also includes starting with small manageable steps, so you don’t end up feeling like your whole life needs to be overhauled to create lasting changes.

Have fun. You’ve heard it a million times. You’ve probably even said it a million times. The best workout is the one you enjoy doing. This applies to all of your goals in the new year. Take some time to reflect on the WHY behind your goals. Are you doing it to please others? Because you feel less-than? Or do you thoroughly enjoy the activity and how it makes you feel? You know intrinsic motivation wins over extrinsic motivation, so focus on the things you are internally motivated to do.

Stay flexible. Things will come up. You’ll get busy with work. You’ll forget your Hydrojug. You’ll miss an afternoon walk because your family needs you. It’s important to remember perfection is not the goal. Practice self-compassion and try to keep your problem-solving hat on when you run into speed bumps on your way to achieving your goals. New year’s goals don’t have to be all-or-none. Allow for a little wiggle-room. You can even anticipate challenges and plan for how you might handle those situations as they come up.

Lean on your support team. It’s okay to ask for help and sometimes we have to call in the professionals. A personal trainer, a registered dietian or nutritionist, a psychologist, a behavior change specialist, there are a lot of professionals out there who are trained to help you achieve your goals. This step can also include recruiting a friend who wants to work on similar goals and relying on each other as “accountabili-buddies.”  I never would have finished writing my Master’s thesis if it wasn’t for my friend who invited me along whenever she went to the library. One our own the task seemed daunting but going together, even though we working on separate projects made it feel more manageable.  

As fitness professionals, we can help the people we teach and train by celebrating their small wins, acknowledging what they’re doing well, and sharing the things that have helped you achieve your goals.

How many of your clients set new year’s resolutions? Do you include intention setting in your programming? And what about you, do you set goals at the beginning of the year?

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