How to Make a New Year’s Resolution You’ll Keep | Denver YMCA

How to Make a New Year’s Resolution You’ll Keep

How to Make a New Year’s Resolution You’ll Keep

New Year’s Resolutions seem like a good idea, but most people only stick to them for the first few months of the year. Sources indicate that roughly 80% of resolutions made in January fail by the end of February. Others report that by December, only 8% of resolutions are successful.

With statistics so discouraging, it’s important to rethink what your resolutions are and how we make them. Simply, if to improve ourselves, we need to improve our goal-setting too!

Five popular resolutions include: Improve fitness, eat better, quit smoking or drinking, travel more, and learn something new. These are all great ideas, but to be successful in achieving them, they must be more specific. In other words, to make a resolution and stick to it, the resolution needs to be SMART.

We use the term SMART in the fitness industry to help clients create realistic goals that they can achieve in a specific amount of time. Here is what SMART stands for and some questions to ask yourself when it comes to your New Year’s Resolution.

Specific. What specifically do you want to accomplish? Add details and be very clear about what you want to achieve.

Measureable. Make sure the goal is attached to something you can measure. Ask: How am I going to keep track of my progress?

Attainable. Consider whether the goal is realistic. Can it be done, or are you setting yourself up for failure?

Relevant. Create a goal that has meaning. Ask: Why is this goal important to you? What is motivating you to accomplish this?

Time-specific: Finally, set a goal with deadlines. Hold yourself accountable for meeting the goal by a specific time.

Knowing your “why”

While all these areas are vital to consider, attainable and relevant are the areas in which people often lack focus. To address this, it is important to create a “big picture” goal for yourself, knowing you might not be able to accomplish it right away. Then, create small realistic SMART goals that build up toward your big picture.

For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds, consider when you want to achieve this. Healthy, sustainable weight loss is one to two pounds per week. So, realistically, the quickest timeframe would be 14 to 16 weeks.

But consider: Why do you want to lose 25 pounds? Would your health improve? Do you want to look better? Do you want to feel better? Decide what your motivation is and really hold on to it. Doing this can be difficult, but it is essential to making sure your goal is something you actually want.

Next, after you’ve created your SMART New Year’s Resolution, consider who can be your support system. Do you know someone who is trying to accomplish the same thing? Having a support system not only keeps you accountable to your goal, but may challenge you to create more goals along the way!

If your goal is fitness related, ask a friend to join you in a fitness class, or work with a personal trainer. If your goal is nutrition based, consider meeting with a nutritionist who can help with meal plans and grocery shopping. Want to learn something new? Research classes and programs offered in the area.

Keep in mind that choosing the right goals can be stressful. Try your best to let that go. Enjoy the process and reward yourself along the way. Take ownership, and be excited about what you are working toward.

At the YMCA, we believe in you and your goals. For advice and encouragement on exercise and healthy living in 2018, contact the fitness staff at the YMCA. Get SMART – it’s going to be a great year!


About Monica Henrichs

YMCA Health & Wellness Director, Monica is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and health coach. With over eight years of experience, she has helped clients of all backgrounds create and achieve their goals. Monica teaches Power Pump and TRX Strength at the Glendale Sports Center at Infinity Park and can be reached at 303 692 5773 or