Why New Year’s Fitness Resolutions Fail

While we might all think that January 2019 was the longest year ever, the truth is the new year is only 6 weeks old. If you are like most people, your New Year’s Resolutions included some kind of pledge to “really get in shape THIS year”. So, how’s working out working out for you? Again, if you are like most people the middle of February you are starting to come up with excuses as to why being fat isn’t that big of a deal. For the record, sadly I must include myself in this “most people” group.

The thing people fail to realize is that you aren’t your own boss, nor are you your own slave. You can’t just TELL yourself to eat better and suddenly starting doing it with 100% compliance. If you have been out of shape for an extended amount of time, chances are you have picked up some serious bad habits. Those habits take time to break, and it takes time to create new patterns of behavior. Be honest with yourself, how many times have you said “I am seriously going to get in shape…”, and then eventually fallen back off the wagon. Regardless of whether it was the first of the year, or some last ditch effort in Spring to drop some weight before shirts come off for Summer. The end result (ie, no results) tends to be the same.

The law of inertia states that it is the tendency of an object to resist a change in motion. That is, an object at rest will stay at rest, unless it is acted on by an external force. The same is true of an object in motion.

An obvious example is a soccer ball lying on the ground. The soccer ball will not move from that spot, unless someone kicks it. When the ball has been kicked and it’s moving through the air, it won’t stop until the force of gravity forces it to drop down to the ground; once it’s rolling on the ground, it will continue rolling until friction forces it to come to a standstill.

Guess what, in this scenario YOU are the soccer ball. Actually in America you are more likely a football. You are an odd shape, and you aren’t moving unless you forced to. When you consider so many Americans spent the last 4-5 months sitting on their couch watching football eating snacks, the metaphor becomes even more apropos.

The average American gains 7-10lbs over the holidays. The interesting thing is I would bet many of them use their impending New Year’s Resolutions as an excuse for a caloric free for all. “Well I am going to start my diet on Jan 1, so I might as well enjoy all this good food now”. Again, I speak from personal experience. Sadly all this does is reinforce bad eating habits and add more fat that has to be worked off in the New Year.

So now January 1 rolls around, you announce to all your friends that this is the year that you are going to get in shape. Your friends have heard this all before, and while they try to be encouraging there support isn’t the same as it was the last 5 years you have said this. And then you make the big mistake, you try to go from 0 to 100 mph overnight. If your body was a car, it has been in the garage all winter and you have barely even started it up. Now on Jan 1 you take it to the drag strip and wonder why it almost blows up when you floor it.

I can appreciate the enthusiasm people have when they decide this is the year they are going to get in shape (again). However, if you want to actually be successful so you don't have to say the same thing next year you have to be smart about it. You cannot go from Big Macs and Supersize Cokes to Brocolli and Salmon overnight, it is just a recipe for disaster. Likewise you cannot go from hibernating all winter to 1 hour of cardio a day and training 6 days a week. That is the reason that so many resolutions fail. People lack patience and haven't taken the time to think it through. If you have been gaining weight over the past several years, and picking up bad habits then trying to go cold turkey on January 1 isn't going to work. And if you stop and think about it, you know it isn't going to work because it didn't work for you last year or the year before when you tried it.

There is no magic 6 week program that is going to fix all of the damage you have caused yourself in the kitchen. And as I have written many times before, people waste so much time jumping from failed shortcut to failed shortcut that if they just took the slow and steady path they would already be where they wanted to be.

If you really want this time to be successful you need to have a year long plan, not just a 6 week plan. You need to ease into training so you don't injury yourself or get so sore that you never want to see a gym again. With food you need to slowly substitute good food for the crap you have been eating. For resolutions to really work the entire more of January should just be a break in month. You should learn better habits, you should get used to eating better foods. Remember, even if you get in shape you don't magically get to going back to eating shit. You have to accept that being in shape takes discipline, and in order to make it work you have to accept that it is a lifestyle and not some quick fix.

The fact that so many people fail with their New Year's Resolutions is exactly why we decided to open up our Online Training Program in February. Just after Valentine's Day when all of the holidays are over, and people have been struggling to stay consistent in the gym is when motivation really starts to fail. If you are looking for help with nutrition, training, and most of all accountability feel free to contact us about our training options. Just remember, every year that you put off getting in shape makes you another year old, and makes it that much harder to do when you finally get serious.



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