Consistency Is Key: Maintaining Health Resolutions Past January

Guest Post by Dan Chojnacki

New year, new you. It’s an annual phrase used by many to signal a change. The new year is a time when many people want to either hit the reset button and return to previous goals or decide to turn a part of their life in a different direction.

Goals motivate us to keep moving forward, but what happens when they seem so far out of reach that we want to give up? Making a lasting change, especially changes to your health, takes more than a few days to accomplish, which makes the first couple of months of the year vital.

The key to achieving your resolutions is staying consistent during the beginning portion of the year. This way, you stick to your plan long enough to form a habit. Once you develop these habits as part of a routine, you’ll be well on your way to accomplishing your goals.

Write out your plan

Notebook on a table next to a cup of coffee

Success and motivation go together like peanut butter and jelly. Motivation leads to success, success leads to more motivation to continue forward, and so on. If you have small successes along the way, you’ll continue to be motivated to reach your long-term goals. So many people get caught up focusing on the destination that they forget to take notice of what’s happening along the journey.

But if you set smaller goals for yourself as steps to lead to your ultimate goal, every time you reach one of your smaller milestones, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment that will drive you forward to the next one. This could be something like losing one or two pounds per week on the way to a larger weight loss goal. Each time you lose even a small amount of weight, you’ll be motivated to continue toward your end goal.

Write down your health resolution and then write down the small steps or milestones it will take to get there. Writing down your resolution serves two purposes.

First, it makes it tangible. It is no longer just a thought in your head. You have taken the time to put it out there to be seen. Being able to see your goal visually makes it more concrete and more likely that you will follow through.

Second, it serves as a reminder whenever motivation lags. Rather than trying to remember why you want this goal or what steps you decided to take to reach it, you have a place where you can look to restore your drive.

Find a friend to hold you accountable

two people working out together

Many of us are built with a desire to not let other people down. There are certainly times in which this can be a negative trait, but when it comes to resolutions, it can be a useful tool to keep you on track.

Of course, we first and foremost want to accomplish our goals because they are important to us. However, if you take the time to share your resolution with someone important in your life, there is a good chance they will help you stick to it.

Friends who know what you’re trying to accomplish can motivate you and lift your spirits when you feel like you should give up. They may even join you in your goals. You could start running together, shopping for healthy foods together, or preparing meals for the week together.

It also provides motivation for you, knowing that if you decide to stop pursuing your resolution, you will have to face your friend. With any luck, your friend may be able to persuade you to reconsider.

Put your goals in your schedule

Personal planner for the week

There are so many possible excuses, especially with health goals, that can hold you back. The excuse used most often centers on time. “I don’t have time to work out.” “I don’t have time to meal prep.”

We all have 24 hours in a day and we need to make the most of them. You can make the best use of your time by scheduling the tasks that will help you accomplish your goals.

If it’s a fitness resolution, scheduling your workout times in advance can help keep your week organized. And scheduling time on Sundays to prepare your snacks and meals for the week will actually save you time during the week.

Whatever your goal is, planning it out to make it a part of your daily and weekly calendar will help you develop a routine. When this routine becomes a habit, the habit will lead to success.

The next step

You’ve made your resolution. It’s all mapped out. You have your end goal written down and you’ve made note of the smaller steps along the way that will help you feel successful and motivated.

You found a friend to share your health resolution with. That friend is providing you with motivation and has even decided to join you because of the drive you showed. Now you are working together for the same goal. Every workout is written on your calendar. Your meals are planned and prepared in advance.

Just like that, you’ve reached your goal. You’ve utilized these tips to stay consistent, form habits, and meet your resolution. Now what?

New year, new you. Time to start again.

Dan Chojnacki writes for and has been a certified personal trainer (NETA) for nearly a decade. He currently trains in Green Bay, Wisconsin where he is also a group fitness director. In his free time, he enjoys running, swimming, playing tennis, and coaching youth softball.

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