”New Years Resolutions for Fitness Fanatics: The Secrets to Success”

Dec 28, 2023

James Clear Infographic


Ah, the dawn of a new year – a time when gym rats and fitness
enthusiasts across the globe gather to reflect on the year gone by
and hatch ambitious plans for the one ahead. New Year's
resolutions have become an annual tradition, a ritualistic exercise in
self-improvement that spans across cultures and backgrounds. But
where did this practice originate and why do we willingly subject
ourselves to the cycle of setting resolutions year after year? Let's
embark on a journey to unravel the mysteries of New Year's
resolutions whilst taking inspiration from James Clear, the maestro
of habit formation.

Origins of New Years Resolutions

The roots of New Years resolutions can be traced back to ancient
Babylon around 4,000 years ago. The Babylonians celebrated the
New Year with a grand, 12-day festival called Akitu. Part of this
festival involved making promises to the gods to pay off debts and
return borrowed items, a form of early spring cleaning for the soul.
Fast forward a few millennia, and we find ourselves making
promises to the gods of gains and the deities of dumbbells, with our
resolutions centered around sculpting the perfect physique.

Why We Do It
The psychology behind New Year's resolutions taps into our innate
desire for self-improvement, something we are big on here at Pro
Health Physio. The start of a new year serves as a symbolic clean
slate, a chance to leave the baggage of the past behind and step
into the future as better versions of ourselves. Whether it's shedding
those extra holiday pounds, mastering a new skill or finally

conquering the elusive pull-up, resolutions give us a roadmap for
achieving our aspirations.

The Gym-Goers Dilemma
For gym enthusiasts, the New Year's resolution fever often
manifests in crowded weight rooms and endless lines at the
treadmill. Its a familiar sight – the influx of eager newcomers armed
with brand-new workout gear, a determined glint in their eye and a
Spotify playlist loaded with motivational tunes. While their
enthusiasm is commendable, the real challenge lies in making
these resolutions stick long after the initial burst of motivation has

Making Resolutions Stick
Enter James Clear, the virtuoso of habit formation and author of the
bestseller ‘Atomic Habits”. Clear’s work delves into the intricacies of
building habits that last, a treasure trove of insights that can
transform your New Years resolutions from fleeting fantasies into
enduring achievements. His key principles include making small
changes, focusing on identity-based habits, and mastering the art of
habit stacking. It’s a fascinating read which I highly recommend, but
here a few of my highlights:

Start Small, Win Big:

Clear advocates for the power of marginal
gains – the idea that small improvements, when compounded over
time, lead to significant results. Instead of setting lofty resolutions
like running a marathon within a month, start with a manageable
goal, such as running a mile without stopping. Celebrate these
small wins, and watch as they snowball into monumental
achievements. A common entry point is the Couch to 5K. You can
find a link to the week by week plans here:

Identity-Based Habits:

He also emphasises the importance of
aligning your habits with your identity. Rather than just aiming to
work out regularly, adopt the identity of a fitness enthusiast. When
your actions are congruent with your identity, it becomes easier to

stay committed. Embrace the mindset of someone who doesn’t just
go to the gym but lives the gym lifestyle.

Habit Stacking:

This involves integrating
new habits into existing routines. If your
resolution is to incorporate more stretching
into your fitness routine, stack it onto an
existing habit like post-workout protein
consumption. By piggybacking on
established habits, you create a seamless
transition, making it more likely for the new
habit to become ingrained in your routine.

A method we use at Pro Health Physio is to
use SMART goals.

Specific – set real targets than mean
something to you
Measurable – you want to know you’re
moving doing towards your goal, right?
Achievable – this should be a challenge,
but not unrealistic due to the time you will
have to complete it
Relevant – this should align with your
values and long-term objectives
Time – don’t leave it open ended, set a date
to complete this by

So if we identify a goal, for example to be
able to deadlift 50kg…

Specific – I want to be able deadlift 50kg

Measurable – I’ll keep track of the weight I
lift as well as the sets and reps I complete each session

Achievable – I have a gym membership and know I have time to get
to the gym three times a week

Relevant – My lower back pain feels better when I’m lifting weights

Time – I want to achieve this within 12 months


If your goal is one that will be achieved in a year or so, for example
the Great North Run 9 months from now, it may also be helpful to
break this down into short, medium and long term goals

Short – run 3km without stoping
Medium – run 10km with a short walked section in the middle
Long – complete the Great North Run

The idea behind this is that we are working towards a goal that
doesn’t seem to far away. If you haven’t ran for a long time, aiming
for a half marathon is doing to be daunting, overwhelming and
possibly even seem impossible, demotivating you from achieving
something amazing. By breaking it down, the next big green tick is
never too far away!

So, as the curtain rises on another year, our resolutions stand
before us like Everest waiting to be conquered. Now though, armed
with insights from James Clear and tips on making your goals
easier to achieve, the journey towards fulfilling our goals for 2024
becomes not just a task, but an adventure.
So, heres to a year of habits, gains, laughter and the occasional
yoga pretzel pose. May your resolutions be as resilient as your
determination and as enduring as the smell of a well-used gym
towel. Happy New Year, fitness aficionados – let the gains begin!

James Clear Infographic