How to Stay on Track with a New Year’s Resolution


Q:  My New Year’s resolution is to exercise more regularly this year.  What are some techniques I can use to help me stay on track?

A:  As you already know, persistence is a critical key to success with exercise.  Since many folks “join the gym” in January, “fall away” in February, and “might go” in March, the best thing you can do is use some of these examples, which are scientifically proven techniques.

OnInspiredLiving_logo_YellowSurround Yourself With Excellence

From a health standpoint, having social support is a huge part of staying persistent, healthy and happy. (1,2)  Some ways to surround yourself with excellence include…

1.  Join a fitness class or club – once you’re there, there’s nearly 100% chance you’ll exercise

2.  Commit to exercise with a partner – fosters personal integrity to your word, your friend and your health

3.  Get a personal trainer – pre-committing to a trainer enhances success of sticking to it and helps maximize workout efficiency as well as knowledge about your health and fitness

4. Connect with hiking groups – Locally, Tolland has plenty of beautiful trails for folks who love to explore the great outdoors all year long.  For more info, go to and search “hiking”

Reward Your Success

The most fundamental law in all of psychology is the law of effect, which states that actions resulting in rewards are strengthened and likely to recur (3).  Here are some ways you can do it

Deposit and Refund Technique –

Give a good friend $500.00 and have him or her return the money in $50 increments for each week you meet your exercise goals.  After 10 weeks of consistent exercise, you’ll be well on your way to follow through on your New Year’s resolution.

Deposit and Refund Technique with a Team – 

Amplify the reward with support of a few friends, etc.  In this case, you and your exercise team give $500.00 to a good friend.  Then, this good friend returns the money in $50 increments for each week you and your team members meet your exercise goals. Since everyone needs to do their share, the level of commitment to meeting the goal gets enhanced by team support.

True Health U’s Final Thoughts

Staying on track, especially when getting started in never easy, however, every resolution begins with a motivated person. Making a resolution stick requires turning this motivation into a motivated action.

When you surround yourself with excellence you do just that, you take an action that provides a support mechanism for you. In all 4 excellence techniques mentioned, there will be others around you sharing similar goals and also striving to stay committed. Plus
there’s a bonus – you get to support and inspire others – which is also linked with enhancing motivation. I added the Deposit and Refund techniques for those of you that enjoy having a slightly higher stake in your stick-to-it agenda.  These techniques can also be combined, in any manner, for maximal exercise support and
staying power.


1. House, J.S., Landis, K.R. & Umberson, D. (1988). Social Relationships and Health. Science, 241, 540-545.

2. Kaprio, J., Koskenvou, M., & Rita, H. (1987). Mortality after bereavement: A prospective study of 95, 647
widowed persons. American Journal of Public Health, 77, 283-287.

3. Jefferey, R.W., Gerber, W.M., Rosenthal, B.S., & Lindquist, R.A. (1983). Monetary contracts in weight control: Effectiveness of group and individual contracts of varying size. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 51, 242-248.

About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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