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Why New Year’s resolutions fail – and how to avoid it

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The New Years festivities are done and dusted and 2017 awaits. It’s time to make good on those fitness resolutions of yours. A new year brings endless new possibilities, but we all know that even the best intentions can go awry if they’re not carefully guarded. For the sake of giving you the best chance of being successful with your 2017 fitness commitments, here’s a look at some of the common stumbling blocks which thwart resolutions, and how to overcome them.

Gym shyness

The problem

There’s a bit of a running joke among the gym enthusiast community that January brings in an enormous crop of fly-by-night New Years’ Resolutioneers.  They take up all the equipment, sit around texting their friends, and stare in awe and wonder at the fitness world they’ve stumbled into – then, in a matter of weeks, they vanish completely only to crop up again the following January.

As with most goals and resolutions, the first boost of enthusiasm will be enough to get you to take action and step into the gym, but it probably won’t be enough to keep you there. There are many reasons why you might experience “gym shyness,” but perhaps the most common is simple insecurity or irritation at having to train alongside dozens of other people, some of who will be a lot more experienced than you.

The solution

The thing about the gym is that the vast majority of people there at any given moment are completely focused on their own workout and don’t have the energy or interest to sit and snigger at you. Keeping that in mind is half the battle. However, that can be easier said than done. Which is why we recommend that you begin your fitness resolution by going to the gym in the early hours, right around opening time, before heading to work. Training first thing in the morning means you’ll be at the gym at its emptiest, and won’t feel so overwhelmed.

 

Time management

The problem

Time management is a major stumbling block.

At the beginning of your fitness resolution, you’ll probably be able to brush aside poor scheduling and time management, as you’ll still be riding high on a tide of motivation and excitement. Maybe you’ll just sleep less or skip some of your normal daily chores in order to get your workout in.

After a few weeks, however, the cracks will really begin showing here, and poor planning will begin to weigh down on you and make your fitness commitments seem all the more difficult and strenuous until the day comes when you finally say “I’m just too busy, I’ll skip this one workout.”. It’s all downhill from there.

The solution

As with gym shyness, one of the best ways to prevent your workout clashing with your daily commitments is to visit the gym first thing in the morning. This allows you to begin forming a positive habit of getting your workout out of the way early, which makes the inevitable excuse of “I just can’t workout today, I’m too busy” harder to justify.

  

Holiday binging

The problem

Before you even reach the halfway point of the year, Easter will rear its head and ambush your progress with chocolate around every corner. Birthdays, leaving parties, stag nights and all the usual celebrations of day-to-day life won’t suddenly vanish from your life because you’ve made a pledge to improve your health and fitness, either.

If you haven’t made plans for how to cope with these events before they occur, you’re likely to find yourself overindulging, feeling guilty about what you eat, and maybe even throwing your hands up and deciding to give up altogether.

The solution

When dealing with your diet, you should remember that “perfect is the enemy of good” and that it’s what you do 80% of the time that really counts. Keeping those principles in mind, set your standards well in advance for when you’ll make exceptions to your diet, and what kind of exceptions you’re willing to make.

If you tell yourself in advance “I’ll eat a single slice of cake and have three beers at Gary’s party” you’ll find it much easier, psychologically, to get back on track the next day. If you tell yourself “no matter what, I will never budge from this diet one single inch” and then cave in and have a slice of cake, on the other hand, your resolve will be seriously shaken.

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