Finding the right New Year’s resolution and making it stick



It’s a new year, but is it a new you?

If you’re setting a New Year’s resolution, you’ve probably already tried to accomplish that same goal in past years and were maybe unsuccessful. Experts say if that’s the case, people should try to identify the barriers that got in the way last time and create a plan on how to overcome them.

“It’s important for that person to identify and really understand what factors made that goal unattainable in 2023 or 2022 or any other year prior,” said Dr. Fadi Tayim, director of the Brain Mapping Center at the Premier Health Clinical Neuroscience Institute.

For someone with a fitness or nutrition resolution, they should consider what were some limitations experienced in the past that prevented them from being successful, such as a lack of motivation or social support.



“We know that a lot of fitness and diets fail because of the lack of social support,” Tayim said. Examples of this could be people continuing to eat junk food around the person who is trying to be healthier, or also people making that person feel bad for trying to be healthier.

Other barriers could include physical injuries or personal stressors that held a person back.

“It’s important for a person to identify those barriers to success, because those barriers in one scenario are often probably the same kind of barriers that they’re going to have to overcome in the future,” Tayim said.

Until a person identifies what’s holding them back, they may not be able to overcome it or find strategies of managing that barrier.

“As a psychologist, we know that until somebody can really identify the source of something, you’re not really going to be able to move pass it. That’s really what we think of in our profession―identifying past behavior really is the key to predicting future behavior,” Tayim said.

If someone’s goal is health-related, Tayim also recommends consulting with a family doctor or their health provider first to get a general health assessment of where they’re at now and if that goal is attainable.

“Consulting with their family doctor, with their family physician, is most important when they’re setting new fitness goals just to make sure that their general level of health is going to correspond or agree with what their fitness goals are,” Tayim said.

If someone has a history of injuries like fractured or broken bones and they want to run a marathon in the new year, this goal should be discussed with their doctor, he said.

If everything checks out with their doctor’s assessment, then they can discuss what resources may be available to the patient to help them with their health goals.

People should also create a strategy for obtaining their health goals, such as finding the right type of diet or food plan that fits with what they already enjoy eating. If their goal is to exercise more, people should look at the types of exercise comes natural to them, such as weight-lifting, cardio, or just walking more, Tayim said.



People can also break down their goals into smaller steps, creating incremental changes they can do consistently before moving on to larger challenges.

If someone is intimidated by the gym, the American Heart Association said being active and moving for 10-15 minutes can be helpful for their health.

The recommended amount of physical activity for adults to get the most health benefits is at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking or fast dancing, each week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Adults also need muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups, at least two days each week.

“I think it’s such a great strategy for people to use New Year’s as a catalyst for change. I really do think that the more support they can get in that journey beforehand, it will lead to longer term success for the next year and then beyond,” Tayim said.

Area gyms are preparing for an influx of customers around the new year rolls around, with some fitness studios like Orangetheory Fitness str planning different fitness challenges for the beginning of the year to keep people engaged in exercising.



“We do know a lot of people will be coming in for their New Year’s resolutions,” said Ashley Hardy, studio manager for the Beavercreek location of Orangetheory Fitness. “I would say the biggest one is definitely based off of fat loss and body weight.”

They will have challenges for different goals, like muscle gain, to help more people with their fitness initiatives.

People should also find ways to hold themselves accountable when it comes to following through on their goals.

“Discipline yourself enough to hold yourself accountable,” Hardy said.

Exercising more and being healthier also goes beyond just a New Year’s resolution as they need the mindset that these actions can be part of an overall lifestyle change.

“You can’t just come in and do this for four weeks. You’ve got to continue at it, and it’s going to be small habits over time,” Hardy said.

Tips for creating resolutions that prioritize your mental well-being, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

  • Pick a goal that motivates you.
  • Break down your big goals into smaller, more manageable goals.
  • Focus on progress, not perfection and stay positive.
  • Lean on others for support and motivation.
  • Practice self-compassion and be easy on yourself.
  • Set a new date and feel free to delay implementing your New Year’s resolutions until the time is right.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others.
  • Know when to ask for help. SAMHSA has behavioral health resources to help. Visit, Find Help.

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