Skip to main content

New Year, New Goals – How to Sustain It When the Going Gets Tough

It’s a common story. You get to Christmas and take stock. You maybe overdo it during the holiday but that only reinforces the idea. And everything falls into place. It’s been a long year but January is a time for renewal, a time for hope. A new year means a new you. With the best of intentions, you subscribe to your local gym and you invest in a fresh pair of trainers and some fancy gear. You hit the gym on January 2nd and listen carefully to the instructor’s advice. You’ve got a plan and you’re going to stick to it. You’ll be the very picture of health and vitality in no time.

And then reality bites . . . . .


It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s bloody hard work. The results aren’t immediately apparent and life keeps throwing you the kind of curveballs that make it easy to skip a session. By the end of January, things have changed. The new kit sits idle in the drawer and your subscription’s going to waste. But you don’t cancel it because, hey, you’re going to get back on it soon . . . honest. As Rabbie Burns once said, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

So, the big question in new year 2017 is how to sustain the motivation that inspired you in the first place. How can you keep up the momentum and avoid falling off the wagon? It can be a hard landing.

The answer, in short, is to be realistic!


Life moves so fast these days, it’s easy to fall into a trap. We can find ourselves expecting results, like, er yesterday. But, when it comes to making radical improvements to our health and fitness, it really doesn’t work like that. Rome wasn’t built in a day. When we commit to a new exercise regime, we tend to picture the end goal. That’s only natural. But it’s a mistake. Whether your ultimate goal is based on weight loss, getting into a certain pair of jeans or eventually running a marathon, that should not be your focus.


Instead, break things down into smaller, attainable goals you can tick off on a regular basis. And ticking them off gives you a sense of satisfaction. You’re achieving your aims one incremental step at a time. If you set your sights too high, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Failure is the mother of demotivation, so make sure there are things you can achieve.


Don’t focus on where you want to be. Think about where you’ve come from. To move forward, you sometimes have to look back.

Stay patient. Don’t monitor yourself obsessively. Leave it at least a week before you go anywhere near the bathroom scales. Then stay away from them. In so many cases, your weight is immaterial as muscle weighs more than fat. It’s a cliché because it’s true.

Stick to the plan. The only bad session is the one you’ve not done. And don’t be puritanical. Just remember to take everything in moderation and maintain a healthy relationship with food, caffeine, alcohol and exercise.

Don’t go overboard but make sure you stay hydrated. Water is vital to every human function. Digestion, mineral absorption, recovery – the lot. It makes you feel alive and it’ll help you keep that galvanising enthusiasm.


Realistically, it’s going to be perhaps four weeks before you start to see results. But the hard times will be rewarded. If you want to look good in those Speedos on the beach, remember that champions are made in the off-season. But don’t try to beat anyone else. Beat yourself and be a champion of what you can achieve. Those small accomplishments all add up to a much bigger picture.

If you can do it in the winter, you sure as damn it can do it at any other time of the year.

So, in 2017, just keep the faith and take things one at a time.


Happy New Year – you’re going to work out great!


Sam Yassin

With a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and coming from the country’s most elite sporting town, Loughborough, Sam Yassin is an experienced strength and conditioning coach. He is a member of the UKSCA and is currently working towards his full accreditation. Having passed his examination and LTAD (Long-term Athletic Development) case study, he is well on his way to becoming a gold standard S&C coach. Sam has long been involved in the sporting world, having competed in a wide range of sports from a young age, despite being born with bilateral talipes and having had more than 5 lower body surgeries. In his final year of university, he gained valuable insight into what it takes to be part of a professional team as he interned at Leeds United Football Club as a strength and conditioning coach.

Keep in touch

Subscribe to our mailing list and keep fully up to date with everything happening at Back2Fitness, as we further develop our programmes and educational tools.