How to Make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick


Originally Published: 12/26/2017

Reformatted: 5/4/21

by Malia Warren

Brace Yourselves, January is coming.

It’s that time of year where we make New Year’s resolutions in order to hold ourselves accountable to change something we don’t like.

A goal could be financially motivated, or self-help related, but almost always, it has something to do with fitness ambitions.

Everyone, and I mean, Everyone, has made a fitness-related goal at some point in their life to start on January 1st. 

How many of those same goal-makers are there on February 1st? Spring? Summer?

Let’s stop making Fitness Resolutions.

I mean it.

Instead, let’s make Fitness Commitments. You’ll read this everywhere, but let’s not get too crazy with our fitness goals OK? I mean seriously.

There is NO reason to set a goal to lose more than 2 lbs a week, or ditch sugar completely, or do a 400 lb deadlift when you’ve never lifted weights before. Here’s why:

We’re going to be S.M.A.R.T about our goals!

This is not another article that is going to tell you what not to eat or why you can’t complete the Spartan Ultra race or why you can’t do this or that.

I don’t tell people they can’t do something. But I am sharing this in hopes that it will help at least one of you in making fitness goals!

The ultimate, ultimate goal, is to workout because we love ourselves, not because we hate our bodies. I’m so tired of everything geared towards changing our bodies for a goal – a wedding, a high school reunion, vacation, whatever – why don’t we just take care of our bodies all the time? Why limit it to one event.

Does this event define who you are? Probably not, so let’s not let it.

New Year’s happens once a year – its an event, not a long term occurance. I think it’s time we stop focusing on letting this one thing change our short term thinking.

Smart people make S.M.A.R.T goals

The acronym stands for: 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

This should be applied to every single goal you make, especially when it comes to Fitness Goals.

You’ve heard it used before, probably in the leadership class your job sent you too. Your eyes likely glazed over and you were left wondering how to get up and use the restroom without everyone noticing.

Either way, here it is again.

The meaning of the Specific part of the mnemonic acronym, when applied to a Fitness Goal, is BE SPECIFIC. Don’t say, “oh I’m gonna lose those last 10 lbs of baby weight in the next month”… ok.


Instead try, “I will go to the gym 3 days a week, track my caloric intake and aim for a deficit, with the goal to burn at least 3,500 calories or more in the week. My goal will be to lose the weight in 10 weeks”.

You have to burn 3,500 kcal to lose a pound. So you would have to burn 35,000 kcal to hit your 10 lb weight loss goal. Do you know how you will accomplish that? This is why you have to be Specific with your goal making to accomplish the bigger goal.

This goal is also Measurable, which just means that you will be able to track it using real life applications, such as kcal intake and minutes of exercise. When it comes to fitness goals, you can measure in kcals consumed and/or burned, pounds lost, kilos lifted, inches lost, you name it!

Of course, this brings us to the next component: is your goal Achievable?

Like, can you really set a goal to run a marathon in a month, when you haven’t been training with running? Maybe you’re a wizard, and you can, but for the rest of us Muggles, it takes a lot more time to train our bodies to run that grueling distance.

Which leads into the next subject: making Realistic goals.

Giving up Donuts completely is not realistic, or sustainable, I don’t recommend it 😂 

Instead, incorporate them into your macros or your cheat meal so you can still have your cake and eat it too!

Our final part of the acronym is Timely. Do you actually have time for the goal your setting? No? Then MAKE time.

If it’s important to you, you will make time. We all find ourselves in a slump every now and then, making excuses of why we cannot leave our house for an hour, escape the kiddos, and sweat out some stress.

Another aspect to look at is: Is your goal Timely in that you are giving yourself enough time to complete the task?

‘Cause let me tell you from experience, having a goal to lose 30 pounds in 6 weeks, isn’t really Timely (nor does it fall in line with any of the S.M.A.R.T mantras), as in, it’s not enough time for your body to lose the weight.

On that note, you shouldn’t trust any “program” that brags that you can. It’s too fast and not sustainable for your body.

You’ll probably be eating Tilapia, broccoli, and brown rice 6 times a day.

Boring. And gross.

And, how are you supposed to have a good relationship with food (and your body) if you’re teaching it to be deprived of certain foods.

But for real. When picking a goal, or several, this New Year (or any time of the year), try applying the S.M.A.R.T ideas to each goal.

What is your Endgame?

You know, like T. Swift said, I want to be your Endgame.

Like, what real, achievable goals are you going to achieve that will have you saying, heck yes, onto the next one. Or will you be depleted and defeated? This is why making SMART goals is so important.

I was looking through some ancient posts of mine, and I came across this little gem from 2013:

My goals are to do a full handstand, an unassisted pull-up (or 2 or 3), and run a half marathon in October 2013. These are long term, achievable and attainable goals for ME. If you know me well enough, you know that I won’t stop until I’ve reached these goals.”

It’s so awesome to think about now, but even back then, I was making S.M.A.R.T goals for myself. BUT the crazy part, I didn’t even do the handstand or unassisted pull-up until 2016. See why the Timely part is important?

I made the goal, with no real gumption to complete the goal. It doesn’t mean I didn’t try or wasn’t motivate to, I just didn’t give myself an achievable goal in the time frame I had.

I did end up running the Half Marathon though 🙂 The last San Francisco Nike Women’s Marathon before they discontinued the location due to city complaints.

Let me leave you with this piece: join me in making a fitness commitment, NOT a resolution.

The definition of resolution is: the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just solve a problem, I want to make changes that will last a lifetime.

This means making them all year round – not just because we’re celebrating the previous years’ graduation to the next.

What are your Fitness Commitments? Drop them in the comments below!

If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at 

Malia is the owner, and mamapreneur, of Lifting the Dream. When she’s not lifting heavy weights, she’s doing some fun shit outdoors with her family or attempting to make rollerblading cool again. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside near Denver, Colorado, soaking up the 300+ days of sunshine and breathtaking (literally, altitude) views.

Stay Lifting My Friends,

Bee Tee Dubs (BTW). 


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