Motivation Articles

The Worst New Year's Resolutions You Can Make

Start Strong by Starting with the Right Goals

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Resolution #3:  I will join a [gym, health club, exercise class]!
Joining a gym or club can be a great way to reset a rusty fitness routine—but only after you actually go on a consistent basis. Beware those flashy first-of-the-year television ads and deep discounts! Many of those who purchase a gym membership in January bail on their workouts within the first six months. When newcomers are turned off by the extra drive time, the surplus of lycra-clad lads and ladies, the loud music or the crowded, sweat-drenched exercise stations, the apparent perks of the gym atmosphere may not outweigh the pitfalls. If your resolution this year is to get fit, then be sure to assess your wants and needs before signing that health club contract.
Resolution Revamp: The first step to fitting more fitness into your life is picking a program that works for you. Start by writing down what you want from your workouts: Musical motivation or a stoic, silent sweat? Crowded classes or personal space? Climate control or outdoor elements? Don't forget to factor in the commute, child-care options, shower space and more. Scope out contenders and ask for a complimentary day pass to explore at your own pace. If you don't find a gym that stacks up to your expectations, then strike out on your own! There's a bounty of online exercise videos and DVDs at your local library, not to mention cheap, simple equipment that will get you fit without breaking the bank. You may find that designing an at-home workout program or enlisting a neighbor as your running buddy is the most economical and empowering way to spark a sustainable fitness habit.
Resolution #4:  I will spend more quality time with my [friends, spouse, family]!
When the gatherings are over and the decorations are put away, post-party January blues can have you pining for a full house and swinging social schedule. Spending more quality time with loved ones is a popular resolution and it is important to your health to come together for happy occasions and celebrations throughout the year. But focusing too much on fitting in elaborate activities with friends, family and children can leave you stressed out and stretched too thin.
Resolution Revamp: Take a look at your upcoming events and notice all the time you're already devoting to helping and visiting family and friends: school plays, dentist appointments, birthday parties, science fairs, etc. Instead of adding to the festivities, pencil in a few hours a week just for you. Get a massage, read a new book, watch the game, take a walk in the park. Feel guilty about taking time out? Tell yourself that taking time to recharge can help you enjoy your engagements even more. Once you've gotten into the swing of giving yourself some quality "me" time, then you can add in appointments for phone calls with friends, date night with your spouse, and other group activities. Creating your calendar from the inside out will help you set the perfect pace in the coming year.
Resolution #5:  I will max out my savings account this year!
Everyone's wallet feels a little lighter after the holiday season, so January is often a time when people consider changing their spending habits. There's no doubt that financial fitness is good for your mental and physical health. (Think about that downward spiral that happens when you feel like you can't afford the basics, let alone healthy foods or your favorite yoga class!) But socking money away can also cause stress and tension, especially if you're lacking a specific goal or the support to make it happen.
Resolution Revamp: If your resolution is to accumulate more and spend wisely, involve everyone in your household in the decision to save. Will you break open your piggy bank for a family vacation, a family health club membership, a new car, a kitchen renovation, or a year of college for your eldest child? Choose a goal that's important to everyone in your home and know how much you need to reach it. Then break down that big number into a per-paycheck amount and, if the overall goal is too far in the future, sprinkle in small rewards for meeting benchmarks – these strategies will help you to stay motivated on the path to savings success. Pinching pennies the right way can strengthen your spirit and lead to long-term mental, fiscal and physical wellness. Continued ›
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About The Author

Megan Coatley Megan Coatley
Megan is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a masterís degree in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University. As a health and wellness coach, she combines her passion for nutrition and fitness with her professional talents to help others creative positive, lasting change and live healthier lives.

Member Comments

  • I resolve NOT to make silly resolutions I CANNOT keep and to do things NOT because I feel I HAVE to to lose weight but because I want and because I enjoy them. - 12/28/2013 9:38:45 PM
  • I started a rule for myself that for every bad thing I eat, I need to eat 2 good things, like a vegetable and fruit. That way, I am eating healthy, but I also can get my peanut butter cup in there once in a while! - 12/27/2013 11:46:20 AM
  • ! E X C E L L E N T !
    I especially like the one about NOT forbiding bad food

    THANKS ! - 2/4/2013 10:42:07 PM
  • This year, my resolutions were all "Do"s - Do drink 8 glasses of water, eat 9 cups of produce (3 cups leafy veggies, 3 cups fruit, 3 cups other veg), and get 7 hours of sleep per night. So far so good, but the sleep is turning out to be the hard part. - 1/8/2013 7:09:09 PM
    My only "resolution" this year was to come at this from a completely different angle. I'm not doing this to lose weight, I'm doing it to get healthy.....if I lose weight along the way GREAT! But I am not going to put myself in a position and get "manic" every Friday morning because I weigh in! It works for me because the pressure of "losing" is off. - 1/8/2013 11:42:30 AM
  • Excellent re-focusing. It's particularly good because you target some of the 'good' things we resolve to increase as well as challenging ways of eliminating 'bad' behavior strategies.

    Thank you. - 1/8/2013 8:05:38 AM
    This is a really positive article that works because it is based on how our minds work. The human mind cannot process negatives, which by saying I am going to stop doing something is is telling your mind exactly the opposite. If I asked you not to think of a pink elephant you cannot do it as your mind has to create the image first for you then to attempt to ignore it. People often ask me how long have been stopped smoking, I tell them I haven't, its just been 2 years since my last one. This way I do not feel like I have given up or lost anything. The other mistake I used to make was to tell people I was going to try to lose weight/ stop smoking etc. I have since learnt this is not a positive way to look at things. You can not try to do something you even do it or you don't.
    Keep positive and acheive your goals through 2013. - 1/8/2013 7:42:27 AM
  • This article hit home for me and I really appreciate it. After years of making a resolution to lose "x" pounds by "y" date, I've modified my goals this year. And reading this article confirms that I'm on the right track. Thank you, SparkPeople!
    - 1/8/2013 6:51:19 AM
  • Excellent recommendations! - 1/8/2013 6:37:35 AM
  • I saw this article title and all I immediately thought was:

    *No Resolution*

    If you don't have hope and actually set a resolution, then how can you reach your goal, your dreams, your BEST YOU.
    - 1/8/2013 1:58:35 AM
  • I at age 57 have decided never to make resolutions because I don't want to open myself up to ye ole guilt if and, because I'm human, when I fail. Forgiving myself and getting back on the horse after the fall is much better than never getting back on at all which I have done several times so far this past year. I'm just continuing on my journey at my own pace without the pressure of any pesky "resolution" lingering in the back of my mind. I know what I need to do, and I'm doing it, albeit at a more leisurely and pressureless (is that a word?) pace. I believe that coincides with the point made to incorporate small changes or expanding on already healthy changes made and, hopefully, eventually leaving the unhealthy habits by the wayside.

    That said, I hope everybody has a Happy New Year!! - 12/31/2012 1:58:01 PM
  • MARTY32M
    Good but not good enough. The example "Eat 3 servings of veggies each day" is not really specific and behavior-focused. When are you going to eat those veggie? What will you eat? If you don't figure that out in advance you could reach the end of the day without eating those three servings.

    I take this as the message: be specific, be realistic, be committed. I broke rule 1 in the article when I quit smoking. I took the big jump to quit cold turkey. But I was specific: I gave my last pack to my wife. I was realistic: I told her to give me one more if I really, really needed it. And I was committed: I had failed three times before and I wasn't going to fail again. And it worked.

    I see a lot of wisdom in the article but also some nonsense. I would say just know yourself, know your weaknesses, your strengths, and your responsibilities, and if there's something you want to change, be specific, be realistic, and be committed.

    Rules (my father used to tell me) were made to be broken. But you have to know why you break them. - 12/31/2012 1:08:18 PM
    This article helped me. I like the positive twist. The best thing I did for myself this holiday was to give myself permission to get my Christmas cards out late. I had a flurry of work and home commitments, and I got my cards out late. But every day until i finally got them out, I was so happy that I was pacing myself and not going crazy, feeling that I must pushpushpush beyond reason to get them out on "time". I did it when it was reasonable to do so, and left the guilt at the door. - 12/31/2012 9:20:51 AM
    I hate, hate, hate reading Spark People everyday, yet I have to. The stories and advice is timely and easy-to-understan
    d. I am pissed off that at 53 years old, I still need advice. Deep down inside, I am confident that I know what I should and should not be doing and I am annoyed that I need a cruch like Spark People. The bottom line is that Spark People works. Thank you! - 12/31/2012 8:47:37 AM
    Thank you Megan for such an excellent article. I really appreciate the tips for getting started and staying on track just by making simple changes and substitutions in my diet. You've given me some very good ideas for getting motivated and for moving ahead in my journey towards better health. - 1/6/2012 6:55:44 PM

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