Strategies to Stick to your New Year’s Resolution


On January 1st this year, like so many people, I was pushing it on my Total Gym as part of my New Year workout solution. Did I just say solution? Didn’t I mean resolution? No!

If you are looking for ideas and strategies for sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions, or adhering to a new workout plan or workout routine, the first thing I’m suggesting is stop making resolutions and begin making solutions instead.

Forty-five percent of Americans fall into this yearly trap, and yet only 8% are successful. That’s more than a 90% failure rate! Worse, 25% don’t even get past the first week of January with any success at all.

You wouldn’t buy a product that fails 90% of the time, so why do so many stick to a strategy year after year that fails more than four-fifths of the time, especially when it comes to something as important as your overall well-being?


Nearly half of all Americans make one or more resolutions, and from my research, it appears that the following are among the top 3 on most of their lists each year:

  1. Spend more time with family and friends
  2. Add more “FIT” to fitness
  3. Win the battle of the bulge


Why do people keep doing the same thing year after year, expecting different results, when we know what Einstein said about this? It’s the definition – his anyway, of INSANITY.

People think making “SMART” goals are a big part of the answer. Specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time-bound, written down, is the way to stick to a new workout plan. The problem is that goal setting alone is like buying a can of paint for a room. Necessary to even begin, but until you start dipping that paint brush in the can and spread it on the walls, it’s only a dream.

That’s why I’m suggesting not setting SMART goals, but instead, setting HARD goals. That’s right. HARD. Super-achievers set these type of goals and execute them wisely, working HARD towards achieving their goals. Do you want to workout 5 days a week on your Total Gym, lose 15 pounds, improve your relationship, and get in shape? Here’s a method you probably have not yet tried. By the way, don’t get frightened off—these steps aren’t really hard. But they will add turbo fuel to your workout commitment.

The acronym HARD comes from Mark Murphy’s 2010 book, “HARD Goals: The Secret To Getting From Where Your Are To Where You Want To Be.” It’s all about activating your brain correctly.

Heartfelt, means building a strong emotional connection to your goal, deep-seated and heartfelt attachments to your goals on levels that are intrinsic, personal and extrinsic.

Animated, the driver behind reaching your goal, means that you actually visualize it — writing it down isn’t enough, seeing it actually occur so vividly in your mind that to not reach your goal would leave you wanting

Required means that you create a sense of urgency, or knowing what you can do today, now, to actually move yourself closer to your goal, so there is no room for procrastination and why it’s so important to you

Difficult means that you kick yourself out of your comfort zone, making it about 20% more difficult than it currently is to achieve your goal—that’ll wake up your brain.

Use this format:

“I am going to ____________.”

“In order to______________.”

“So that_________________.”

Here’s an example:

I am going to do an upper body workout on my Total Gym on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and a lower body workout on Tuesday and Thursday this week.”

In order to build more full body fitness.”

So that I have the energy to be more productive at work, or keep up with housework, or have more active fun with friends, or live longer and healthier.”

Finally, quietly, on February 1, 2017, commit to this: “This year, I will love myself, find the best in myself, focus on what I can do and what I am achieving, and be my biggest cheerleader—daily, three times a day—my mind will be focused on asking myself what can go right for me regardless of what’s in front of me.”

It’s the one resolution you need to have any chance for your workouts, fitness, nutrition, optimal health success, high self-regard, high self-worth, and high self-efficacy. Self-compassion is essential for sticking to any goal, but even more so for a fitness-nutrition goal, according to, “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learn” by Roediger Brown and McDaniel. Add to this Dr. Pam Peeke’s “BMW plan,” “stop the BITCH, MOAN and WHINE,” follow your plan on your Total Gym regardless, and you are on your way to your healthiest, fittest year yet!

There you have it. While everyone else’s resolutions will have likely faded by February 1 2017, you’ll just be moving into high gear, leaving everyone wondering what you know that they don’t.


Dr. Michael Mantell

Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D. has been providing psychological and coaching services for nearly 5 decades and continues to empower positive change among his global clients to enhance life in every way. He is a highly sought-after healthcare professional coach, an executive and team building consultant, and a longtime specialist in cognitive behavioral coaching.

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