How to Avoid the Top New Year's Resolution Mistakes

How to Avoid the Top New Year's Resolution Mistakes

The New Year is well under way, and the goals that you set in January are at their make or break point. Whether you’re in the gym or standing around the water cooler, you’ll hear plenty of other people talk about how they just aren’t happy with their progress. It’s not long after hearing those words that you’ll see the best of intentions begin to drop like flies. Don’t let this happen to you!

Be sure to avoid these three common mistakes so that you can stay on track to reach your health and fitness goals.

1. Having a vague or general set of goals

Put simply: You need to be exact about what you want to accomplish. When setting a health and fitness-related goal, it’s not helpful to make a general statement such as “I want to lose weight.” You need to do the following:

  • Get specific about the details
  • Define the reasons why you want to achieve this particular goal
  • Write them both down. Studies show those individuals who took the time to physically write their goals down on paper had a higher success rate. (1)

For example, if your goal is weight loss, define and write down an exact number of pounds that you want to lose.

  • “I want to lose 15 pounds…”
  • “I want to lose this amount of weight because I want to feel better physically and emotionally…” or “I want to look amazing at my high school reunion.”

Above all, be descriptive as possible. The more detail you put into setting your goals, the more connected you will be to them. The importance of these goals will not be just another fleeting thought; they will have real meaning to you.

2. Not putting a date on it

In relation to defining your ambition is putting a time frame or date stamp on that particular goal. If you want to lose 15 pounds (using the example above), when would you realistically want to accomplish this? A realistic weight loss is between half a pound to two pounds per week. Therefore, your goal of 15 pounds could be accomplished within 2 to 3 months. Next to all of your important goals and the reasons behind them, place a date of projected accomplishment. Giving yourself a deadline will help to light the fire to achieve it.

3. Trying to carry the weight of the world

Setting goals for the New Year is a lot like an avalanche: Once you start, you suddenly discover that you have at least a dozen or more things you’d like to accomplish. Soon, the list mentioned above is filling two notebook pages and your confidence begins to wane. You are only human and to be human means to be realistic. Here are a few tips on how to arrange your list of future accomplishments:

  • Make a general list of all the goals you want to accomplish.
  • Place #1 next to the goal with the highest importance. Then place #2 next to the goal you would consider second in importance. So forth and so on. Do this for the entire list.
  • Focus on your top two or three goals only.
  • Clearly define these goal (as stated above)
  • Once these are accomplished, revisit your list and tackle the next two or three.


Even though you may follow the suggestions above, you are going to have your bad days. Even the best of us go through periods of doubt and frustration. What defines character and dedication is the perseverance to stick to the goals despite the negative feelings that may come.


1.   Mueller, Pam A., Oppenheimer, Daniel M. The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard

Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. Psychological Science April 23, 2014 0956797614524581.


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