Resolutions and Goals: How to Set Yourself Up for Success

Hey, I’m Danica! I’m here to help you along your health and fitness journey - from psychology and mindset to health and nutrition, I’m here to give you the tools and information that you need to succeed!


We’ve all heard of them, and we’ve most likely set them ourselves: New Year’s resolutions. It’s a sort of well-intended ‘promise’ we make to ourselves, a change that we’re committing ourselves to. “New year, new me!” and such - 

Well-intended, but not always well-implemented.

It might or might not come as a big surprise that most of these resolutions aren’t successfully followed through. But why?

“This year, I’m going to hit the gym!”

“I’m going to get in shape!”

“I’m going to start eating healthier!”

Our most common resolutions – most of which revolve around our health, fitness and wellness – tend to be too vague, too general, to be able to truly follow through with! So how do we fix this?

First off, let’s differentiate between ‘resolutions’ and ‘goals’. Your resolution to “get in shape”? A firm decision to do or not do something. A goal, though? The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result. For example, quite a few of the more popular New Year’s resolutions actually qualify as goals: that marathon that X wants to run in March? A specific achievement – a goal. Your resolution to “getting in shape”? This is a resolution. Consider it a commitment to making a permanent change to your life, but not just until a specific achievement is reached.

Why is this difference important to note, though?

You can really, truly pinpoint and specify a goal. You can therefore reach this specific goal. A resolution? Not so much. The ambiguity that stems from a resolution isn’t totally setting yourself up for success, for positive and measurable results.

Having a resolution – New Year’s or otherwise – isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s a great thing! Being resolved to positive change lays the path for your goals that will lead you to that change. Because of this, I believe that resolutions and goals go hand in hand – that our resolutions are really the guiding force and the inspiration behind our goals – when it comes to our health and fitness.

So let’s learn how to take your resolution to “get in shape” and break it down into specific goals that you can reach and track, to ensure that you’re successful in your commitment to change!


For years, we’ve been stressing the importance of setting goals. Typing those exact words into your Google search automatically predicts “for students”; “in business”; “in sport”, so clearly there’s something to this practice. Goals give you focus. They allow you to measure your progress. They help you block out distractions, and keep you focused. They make you hold yourself accountable, so that you can finish the task. But most importantly, they provide some much needed motivation; they inspire you, they drive you.

Simply put, your goals are powerful tools to positively focus your energy, to drive yourself to success.

For some history: our belief in goal setting truly peaked after Edwin A. Locke’s mid-1960s studies and research on the matter. The idea of this goal setting derived from Aristotle’s form of final causality: “purpose can cause action”. From this, Locke started researching the impact that goals have on our activity and established the positive relationship between clearly identified goals and performance.

Later, we further expanded on this goal setting theory by adding criteria to guide in the setting of objectives: SMART criteria. The first-known use of the term was in a 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran, and is most commonly associated with Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept.

So sure, this was first geared more towards successful business and management, but the same principles apply beautifully and seamlessly when it comes to health and fitness ambitions!

Klaud’s touched on the importance of setting goals and, more importantly, using SMART goals before – you can read those articles here and here respectively– but I’ll quickly summarise:

SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable (/Attainable), Realistic (/Relevant), and Timed.

Pretty straightforward, but let’s exemplify and elaborate on each of these, so that you get a bit of a better understanding on how each principle translates to your health and fitness.

Let’s say that you’ve resolved to “getting in shape”. Amazing, that’s a great start! But what does “getting in shape” mean to you? How will you determine whether you’re “in shape”? You have to really dig deep and pinpoint what you mean to achieve: set goals to achieve your resolution.  And with your SMART goals – yes, goals with an ‘S’, since you’re resolving to permanent, continuous change – you’ll be setting yourself up with the tools that you need to drive yourself to achieving success.

“I want to get in shape!”

Specific: I want to lose 10 pounds!

Measurable: I can measure my progress by stepping on a scale, to see if I’m on track; I can measure my progress through body measurements.

Achievable: I can lose 1 to 2 pounds a week!

Realistic: Considering that I’m still new to working out, I can commit to hitting the gym twice a week, and adjusting my diet and lifestyle.

Timed: I can do this in two months!

So with clearly defined and realistic goals that you can track, you’ll find that achieving what you’ve set your mind to becomes easier and easier. You’ll be able to readjust your focus, set new goals, and ultimately, see your resolution, your commitment to your health, come to fruition!


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