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

With each new year, we get a fresh start. A chance to get more active, shed a few pounds or pursue something we’ve always wanted.

If more exercise is your resolution, persistence is your critical and key partner.

Since many folks “join the gym” for the first month, “fall away” in the second month, and “might go” in the third month, the best thing you can do is use some of these persistence examples which are scientifically proven techniques to improve your ability to stick to it.

Surround Yourself

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

Join a fitness class or club – once you’re there, there’s nearly 100% chance you’ll exercise and make a friend or two with the same goals .

Commit to exercise with a partner – fosters personal integrity to your word, your friend and your health. This support ensures accountability for staying on track.

Get a personal trainer – pre-committing to a trainer initiates the persistence mindset – wanting to get what you paid for. Not only will a trainer tap your motivation but s/he will maximize workout efficiency as well as provide need-to-know info about your health and fitness. Want more on the power of pre-commitment, click here.

Connect with hiking groups – Not a gym person? Explore the great outdoors. Many local towns have incredible walking and hiking trails nearby. Find your path on state and town websites or connect with nature focused groups, such as, the Audubon Society.

Reward Your Success, No Matter How Small

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. Any action you take, that aligns with your New Year’s resolution is progress. And Harvard research shows how bits of progress are the key to help you stick with your goals and more.

Here’s two ways to reward your success that are backed by research (2).

The Deposit and Refund Technique

Give a good friend $500.00 (or some meaningful amount to you) 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.


Because that’s when you’ll see and feel the results. And we know from the Harvard research that progress keeps you motivated and persistent.

Deposit and Refund Technique with a Team

Want to up the ante? I added the Deposit and Refund Team technique for those of you that enjoy having a slightly higher stake in your stick-to-it agenda.

Amplify the reward with support of a few friends or co-workers, etc.  In this case, you and your exercise team give $500.00 to a friend or co-worker.  Then, this person 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.


Staying on track, especially when getting started is never easy. It all comes down to persistence.

Making a resolution stick requires turning it into motivated and consistent actions.

  1. Surround Yourself – Social support systems linked to an exercise resolution provides added motivation to stay persistent.  When folks around you share similar goals, determination and commitment get reinforced.
  1. Reward Your Success – Finding ways to highlight your resolution progress with rewards is a surefire way to support persistence. Plus there’s a bonus – you get to support and inspire others, which is also linked with enhancing motivation.

Thank you for reading!


Related Articles:

How to Master Healthy Habits – New Insights from Research

5 Steps of Successful People – Backed By Decades of Research

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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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