New Year, New You?

New Year, New You?

It’s January, again, that time when we all determine that we will do better, exercise more, eat healthier, learn a new skill, and grow as people. I’ve already spent time making my goals for 2022, goals about reading, language learning, and…well, perhaps I’ve already forgotten the others. Good thing I wrote them down. I know I may not achieve them all, but just trying means I’m going to do things and learn things I wouldn’t otherwise have done and learned without having a goal. Right?

However, it seems that many times, we make goals or resolutions, but aren’t very successful in keeping them. After a week, most people are still doing well, with 75% of people sticking to their resolutions, but after a month, the group of successful folks drops closer to 64%.1 But at least we can see that those who made resolutions are a little more successful in making change than those who don’t. In a 2002 study of those who made new year’s resolutions vs. those who didn’t, authors Norcross, Mrykalo, and Blagys found that at 6 months, 46% of those who made resolutions were continuously successful, compared to 4% of those who wanted to change but did not make any resolutions.2 But still…46%? That’s less than half.

Many new year’s goals are related to health – dieting, eating healthier, losing weight, exercising more, getting stronger. In a 2020 study on new year’s resolutions, authors Oscarsson, Carlbring, Andersson, and Rozental found that the most popular goal category among their participants was that of goals related to physical health, with weight loss and change in eating habits being second and third, respectively.3 Think about your goals for the year. Are any of them related to health habits? Or did you decide against that kind of goal because you’re not sure you’re going to be among the 46% of successful folks come June? Well, if you’re one of the many valiantly trying to improve your health, exercise more, lose weight, or build better health habits this year, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.

First, the same study referenced above (Oscarsson and colleagues) found that those who made “approach-oriented goals” were more successful than those trying to adhere to “avoidance-oriented goals.”3 Basically, those who set goals to do something were more successful than those who set goals to not do something or stop doing something. Other factors considered in the study included setting specific goals (as opposed to general) and the amount of support provided for the goal-setters. Those with support were vastly more successful than those without.3 So, practically, how does this help us? How can we make use of this information?

  • Set goals that are positive and “approach-oriented”: i.e. resolve to eat more fruits and veggies, exercise 30 minutes a day 3x/week, or go to bed earlier…instead of “stop eating sugar,” “be less sedentary” or “don’t stay up late.”
  • Set goals that are specific: go to bed by 9:30 every night or exercise 4 days/week…instead of “go to bed earlier” or “exercise more”.
  • Find a buddy for accountability and support
  • Break goals down into more manageable chunks: if you have a goal to run a half-marathon by the end of the year, find a training plan and work on being successful week to week.
  • Celebrate successes! Even if you’re only 80% successful (or 60%…or 40%…) that’s still more change and growth and improvement than you would have had had you not made any goals at all!
  • And last, don’t let injuries derail you on your way to success in this fitness journey! Consider coming into your nearest Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy clinic for one of our MoveWell exams to assess for any areas of weakness or breakdown so we can help you stay strong and successful all year. And if you do get injured along the way, one of our therapists would love to help you get right back on track as quickly as possible!

So, as you enter this year motivated and excited to do better, don’t get discouraged! You’ve got this—go forth and conquer!


  1. https://discoverhappyhabits.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
  2. Norcross, J., Mrykalo, M. and Blagys, M., 2002. Auld lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 58(4), pp.397-405.
  3. Oscarsson, M., Carlbring, P., Andersson, G. and Rozental, A., 2020. A large-scale experiment on New Year’s resolutions: Approach-oriented goals are more successful than avoidance-oriented goals. PLOS ONE, 15(12), p.e0234097.

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Sarah Johnson, DPT