Avoid the New Year’s Resolution Trap with these Five Hacks - insidefitnessmag.com
Written by Laura Jackson (@laurajacksonfit)

With the new year upon us, you may be thinking about your goals and what you hope to accomplish in 2024, but did you know that New Year’s resolutions typically don’t work? According to statistics, 23 per cent of people quit by the end of the first week, and 43 per cent give up by the end of January.

As a personal trainer and fitness competitor specializing in women’s transformations, I’ve learned that consistent action over time leads to the best results. In other words, there shouldn’t be an ‘off season’ when it comes to our goals. The work must happen daily to improve and achieve a better outcome — otherwise you will find yourself chasing the same goal year after year.

Are you ready to raise the bar in 2024? In this article, I share my top mindset strategies to staying on track and avoiding the ‘New Year’s resolution trap’.

1: Create a SMART Goal

The SMART acronym stands for: Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Realistic and Timed. If we don’t have a road map to our destination, it’s easy to get off course. We can apply this same concept to our goals.

Specific: Instead of saying you want to lose weight and get stronger, try to be more specific. Here’s an example: “I want to lose 10 pounds of fat and one to two inches off my waist. I also want to be able to perform 10 full push-ups in a row.” When you are specific, the goal comes to life.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to tell others about your goal. This will help you to stay accountable.

Measurable: By tracking changes and writing them down you will be motivated by your own progress. This will also ensure the plan is working. If we don’t track our data, it’s hard to know if we’re improving or staying the same.

Action-Oriented: Change doesn’t happen unless we take consistent daily action. I recommend working with an experienced personal trainer to ensure your plan aligns with your goals.

Tip: If you struggle with time management, try scheduling your workouts as appointments in your calendar.

Realistic: The goal should be attainable. Seeing your abs in eight weeks when your body fat is over 30 per cent will set you up for failure. However, losing one to two lbs per week is considered healthy and sustainable.

Timed: Your goal must have a deadline or end date. For example, you may plan to start on January 1 with the intention of being ready for your beach vacation by March. This keeps the pressure on and helps you stay the course. Another strategy is to create pain associated with ‘not’ achieving the goal. For example, you may want to sign up for a race, hike up a mountain, prep for a fitness competition or a photoshoot. The thought of losing time and money may be enough to keep you going.

2: Visualize Your Ideal Self

When you have an image of what you hope to achieve, it’s much easier to stay motivated. For example, when I prepped for my first fitness competition, I taped a photo of Nicole Wilkins (Ms. Figure Olympia) to my fridge. Every time I opened it, I saw her amazing physique.

Who inspires you? Perhaps there is a celebrity or athlete you admire.

Tip: Keep their photo along with your goals in front of you and watch how inspired you will feel. Tape them to a mirror, a fridge or keep them on your phone.

3: Be Crystal Clear on “Why” You Want to Achieve Your Goal

When we start a new fitness program, motivation tends to be high. This is the reason why gyms are so busy in January. Unfortunately, most people give up by February. It’s human nature to lose sight of your goals when there isn’t a strong enough ‘why’ or reason to keep going.

The “why” is the deeper meaning behind your goal, which will help you to stay disciplined when you lack motivation. For example, you may want to lose 10 lbs and/or some inches off your waist. To find your ‘why,’ you must take it a step further and determine the emotional reason behind the goal.

It may look something like this:

  1. Lose weight to look good in clothes
  2. Looking good in clothes will improve my confidence
  3. More confidence will help me attract a new partner/relationship
  4. Not having a partner makes me feel lonely; therefore, a relationship will create fulfillment

To be clear, relying on something external won’t make you happier. However, a goal that is tied to an emotion will serve as a strong motivator. The key to achieving happiness while pursuing a goal is to find joy in the journey while appreciating where you are in the present moment. Make sure to write down your ‘why’ to keep it forefront in your mind at all times.

4: You May Need an Identity Shift

To achieve a big goal, you will need to let go of your former self in exchange for a better version of you. It’s easy to tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough or that it’s not possible to achieve our goals. The truth is that you absolutely can accomplish anything you want, as long as you believe it!

When I first started competing, I wanted to lose weight and see my abs, but I had to let go of the story that I couldn’t break my sugar addiction or that I had poor genetics. The shift starts with you and how you talk to yourself.

Tip: Minimize the time you spend with people who aren’t supportive of your goals. Instead, create boundaries and surround yourself with those who lift you up.

5: Get Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable

Most people stay where they are simply because change is scary and uncomfortable. This is a trap. Your brain wants you to be comfortable. Therefore, you must ask yourself how you will feel if you are in the exact same place one year from now. What if you haven’t lost weight and those jeans are still snug? Achieving goals helps to build confidence, which inspires us to keep moving forward. I can assure you that once you leave the ‘comfort zone’, it will get easier. In fact, you will likely enjoy the process so much more when you begin to see results.

In reality, most of us aren’t that far off from our goals. Once you master your mindset you can achieve anything you desire. It all comes down to understanding what motivates you at a deeper level; believing it’s possible; letting go of disempowering thoughts and being brave enough to sit in the discomfort that accompanies change. Are you ready to put these strategies to work and level up in 2024? Let’s go!

Laura Jackson is a Toronto-based certified personal trainer and a masters fitness competitor who specializes in helping women get in amazing shape after 40. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Journalism.
2024Fitness goalsHow to achieve goalsNew years resolutionsSetting goalsSmart goals

1 comment



Brilliantly said Laura! Incredibly knowledgeable, supportive, responsive and overall an amazing mentor!

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