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Over 85% of New Year’s Resolution fail, but lets change that

Over 85% of New Year’s Resolution fail, but lets change that for 2016

On the first day of the year countless people make New Year’s Resolutions, so why is it that come February 1st,, so many of those resolutions have failed?

Over the New Year period many people made resolutions, to make themselves better, have a happier life and not surprisingly, lose weight and exercise more. And why not? It is an undeniable fact that by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight, we are less prone to life style diseases, depression and just simply feel better about ourselves.

So despite the knowledge that health and exercise New Year’s resolutions are going to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on our daily lives, why is it that (according to a 2007 study of over 3,000 people conducted by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman at the University of Bristol) 88% of those who make New Year resolutions will fail. This is despite 52% of the participants feeling confident that they would succeed when they set their goal. The study went further than just measuring success and failure. It also provided different participants with different advice to help them achieve their goals, and then tracked what advice contributed the most to success. It is clear from this research that there are ways you can increase your success rate and finally make those New Year’s health and exercise resolutions stick.
So as New Year turns into February, what can you do to avoid being one of the 88%, and instead be successful with your health and exercise New Year’s resolutions through 2016? By using a combination of the results from this study, and some advice from the experts, 2016 can be the year you get more physically active and healthier.

Set a timeline and plan
An exercise or fitness New Year’s resolution is not achieved in a single workout or even a month. Resolutions to become a physically active and healthier you are something you will contribute to on a weekly basis throughout the year.

Set goals
An extra 22% of men in Richard Wiseman’s 2007 study achieved their resolution when they engaged in goal setting. But hang on, isn’t a New Years resolution a goal? The secret to goal setting is to make sure the goal is a SMART one: Specific, Measurable,Achievable, Realistic and Timely.

The more specific your goal is, the easier it is to track your progress and see how you are going. You aren’t going to go straight from the couch to a 5km run in one session, so it’s helpful to be able to see that while the results aren’t appearing instantly, you are making progress along the way. Need some help with setting some SMART exercise and fitness goals and reaching them? Check out our next piece of advice:

Don’t go it alone
Want to really make it to those New Year goals? Enlist the help of an expert. Gone are the days of having to start exercising and hope for the best. In NZ we have some amazing Personal Trainers and exercise professionals (group exercise, yoga, and Pilates instructors, exercise coaches etc) who have the qualifications and attitude to make your workout more effective AND more fun. To find a trainer in your area who knows their stuff, we recommend you head to the website
Next step? Tell the world what you are hoping to achieve. Friends and family won’t laugh at your resolution, and they are more likely to become your ally and help you stay focused on your ‘off’ days. The 2007 study showed women were almost 10% more likely to be successful when encouraged to persist in the face of setbacks.

It’s not enough to know just where you are going, as you need a plan to get there. Some great advice from REPs registered exercise professionals at the Personal Trainers’ Council of New Zealand - “Keep your goals where you can see them, and think about how you will feel once they have been achieved every time you see them. So every time you see them you are also reminded of the next step to get you there”.

Be positive
New Year’s health and exercise resolutions are not a one time event. They are a goal that you work at throughout the year. Every time you make a wise food choice, or do a workout or exercise, you are contributing to your success, and a single stumble will not erase all your good work. Focusing on the rewards gained rather than the potential for failure helped the participants of the 2007 study keep to their goals, and this will help you to. Commonly known as ‘the carrot vs. the stick’ this involves thinking about, for example, how great it will be to be able to run for the bus without getting puffed, rather than how bad you feel now as you climb onto the bus breathing heavily and red in the face.

We are very fortunate in New Zealand to have the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) who provide a publicly searchable database of appropriately qualified and experienced exercise professionals. REPs also provides a register of exercise facilities who agree to ONLY use the services of Registered Exercise Professionals to deliver safe and effective exercise advice to New Zealanders. For more information on how you can benefit from using REPs Registered Professionals and facilities who can help you set SMART health and exercise goals that will last longer than just the New Year, just go to

Richard Wiseman study:


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