Is Your New Year's Fitness Resolution Doomed to Fail?

People often blame a loss of motivation for their failed New Year’s fitness resolutions. By the time Spring rolls around, people will be asking me, “How do I stay motivated?”

They’re asking the wrong question. The truth is, motivation always fades. Whatever inspired you to start exercising isn’t going to keep you exercising months or even years into the future. Even strong motivators like a marathon don’t work in the long term, as people usually fall back into inactivity after they’ve achieved their goal.

Think about it: no one’s motivated the brush their teeth. You do it because it’s a habit and no matter how tired you are, you drag yourself to the sink and get to work.

When I meet people in their 60s, 70s or 80s who are fit and active, it’s because exercise is a concrete part of their routine. It’s not a chore in their diary that’s quick to get cancelled when something more important comes up, it’s a fixed feature of their life.

It takes around three months or more for a habit to form. That means whatever exercise you start in January, you need to still be doing it in April if there’s any hope for it to become a part of your day to day life.

That may not sound like long, but I know from experience that a lot of the people signing up to the gym in the New Year won’t make it that far.

Here’s where they’re going wrong:

  • Binge exercising
    Carried by a wave of New Year motivation, you decide to tackle your inactivity head on and push yourself to your limits. You feel incredible progress in the first week but it just isn’t sustainable. Either you overload and injure yourself or you become disheartened when you can’t keep up the unrealistic pace and you drop off entirely.
  • Sacrificing too much
    If your new exercise regime is taking too much time out of your work, family or social life, it’s not going to last. At some point, one of the above is going to take priority and it doesn’t take much disruption for a fresh routine to be broken. Chances are if you take a week out at this stage, you’ll never pick it up again.
  • You just don’t like it
    I’ve never met anyone who hates going to the gym say to me, “I’ve been going for 20 years.” If you’re not finding any enjoyment in your exercise, you’ll be looking for excuses not to do it. Be honest with yourself and find an activity that gets your heart working without making you miserable.

If you want to keep your New Year’s resolution, start small. Figure out a reasonable amount of time you can dedicate to exercise and choose an activity that won’t result in overexertion. For example, you could try walking 30 minutes a day on your way to work or incorporate a daily 10 minute circuit of push ups, sit ups, step ups and squats in your own home.

Small, achievable routines with few potential obstacles are more likely to remain part of your life in three months time. Then, once they’re a habit, you can gradually add more activities, branching out and finding further ways to increase your fitness. Even a 1% daily increase in activity will eventually add up to an incredible lifestyle change by this time next year.

If you need more guidance, we’d be happy to see you and put together an exercise plan for you, helping you incorporate exercise into your life at a comfortable and controlled pace. Or if you’d like a more supervised program to ensure you stay on track why not have a course of training with our Functional trainer Ryno Erasmus.

While many people keep training with us for years, our goal is to make you self sufficient and form habits that make fitness a part of your life rather than a goal. It’s not about getting fit, it’s about being fit.

Let’s make this the year you keep your New Year’s fitness resolution. Call us on 0207 937 1628 or email now to book a consultation.

Keep moving,

cameron tudor physio notting hillCameron Tudor

Clinical Director, West London Physiotherapy

For any other questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact West London Physio on 0207 937 1628 or email me at