Achieve Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution by Creating New Habits

Northwestern Medicine
Health and Wellness January 03, 2022
Run a marathon. Go to the gym every day. Lose 25 pounds. Did you set a fitness goal for a New Year’s resolution? You might want to rethink how you are framing your exercise hopes for 2022. Erin Bloodworth, fitness manager at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Health & Fitness Center, says you should focus on building healthy long-term habits instead.

“It is very difficult to stay compliant if you set an out-of-reach goal,” says Bloodworth. “Instead, focus on small, reasonable goals with specific actions that can become habits.”

For example, today you might walk a mile. Build up slowly and add another mile next week. Get over the first step and just show up. Bloodworth says do what you can each day and be forgiving of yourself. The focus should be regularity, not quantity.

Ideally, you want to incorporate cardiovascular conditioning, strength training and flexibility, but trying to do it all at once can be overwhelming. Instead, just start with something that feels good. If you enjoy stretching, do some yoga. Need a distraction? Hop on a treadmill while listening to a favorite podcast.

“If you exercise with more regularity, it will become a habit,” says Bloodworth. “You’ll experience a cortisol release. You’ll feel better and want to do more. That’s a good time to introduce another type of exercise, whether it be cardio, strength or flexibility.”

Bloodworth says the new year is a perfect time for a reset. Don’t lament on what you haven’t achieved in the past. Instead, focus on what is ahead.

“The last two years have been tough,” says Bloodworth. “Don’t punish yourself. Have a happier outlook, and wake up every day asking, ‘What would a healthy person do today?’ Then, consciously make a decision to move in a positive direction.”
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