Over the years, I have seen too often how New Year’s resolutions are abandoned. Raise your hand if you have resolved to change something in 2022 and have already broken it…c’mon raise your hand higher. I know mine is raised!

We make New Year’s resolutions out of good intentions motivated in part by guilt, media hype, and eek! the mirror. I challenge you to forget these popular four resolutions and be kinder to yourself in 2022. Who’s with me?

Do Not Join a Gym

What, you ask? Instead of gathering during tourist season and fighting for parking spaces this month, take more walks outside. If you have a dog, walk him—he needs exercise too.

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”

Henry David Thoreau

For those living in cold wintery regions where walking outside is challenging, here are some ideas: dig through your old VHS (what?) or DVD collections and pull out a Pilates, yoga, or jazzercise workout. If you have cable or satellite TV, surf through stations to find a workout channel. Yoga is a great fitness activity because you can stretch, relax, and minimize tension.

Snow shoveling is a wonderful workout for killing two birds with one shovel. Take care to use your legs and not twist your upper body.

Fitness Activity

If you like surfing the net, check out workouts on Youtube. When the pandemic closed the world in early 2020, I found countless workouts from beginner to advanced, with durations ranging from 10 to 60 minutes. You can also access and download free and paid apps to your mobile devices. TRX suspension training also has a download for those of you who have TRX paraphernalia at home collecting dust (like me).

Speaking of dust, rescue that lonely stationary bike or cardio machine sitting in your garage and start using it. If you feel that belonging to a gym is what you need, I encourage you to join or upgrade your membership. The New Years’ deals will be around for a few more weeks. If your gym is too crowded, consider going at times/days that are not in the traditional prime time. Early morning workouts are a great option because you can get it out of the way, shower, and head to work. But make sure you commit to going.

Do Not Start a Diet

“Remember you are the one who can make the change.”

Oprah Winfrey for WW (Weight Watchers)

One of the common mistakes we make when starting diets is that we approach food as something NOT to eat or enjoy. Of course, most of us need to eat more nutritious foods and cut down on calories. Rather than sink our money into diets that will stop working once we stop buying/eating the food, make a list of foods YOU do enjoy.

Diets that restrict calories or food groups are designed to fail. I don’t like Paleo because I enjoy grains like oatmeal and English muffins. I picked all the foods I love and simply eat less of them. No, it is not simple. I have struggled with 15-25 pounds for several years. Tricks like using a smaller plate, measuring out portions, eating smaller meals per day more often, or sitting down at the table and eating slowly can help you begin new eating habits.

Also, do not give up your favorite treats. Allow yourself a treat now and then so you do not feel deprived. If you are dieting and have a relapse, where you lost the battle with the dish of ice cream or the bag of chips, DO NOT give up! Start over at the next meal or the next day.

Scoop of vanilla ice cream
Scoop of vanilla

And weigh yourself only ONCE a WEEK, preferably at the same time of day. Many of these diet tricks can be found online at Weight Watchers (now WW), Nutrisystem, Noom, etc., without having to join, or by simply reading a trusted source.

Do Not Quit Smoking or Drinking

Macro view of green Margarita

Why not? There IS a caveat to this. If your health is at risk TODAY, and you smoke or overindulge in alcohol or other addictive substances, then seek immediate help. Deep inside, you know what is best for you. Continuing these behaviors puts not just you and your health at risk, but the health of your family, friends, and loved ones. Addiction is nothing to mess with.

Do seek outside help to quit smoking. If you are ready to quit, use the tools available, whether it is trying nicotine gum or a patch to slowly and safely quit, or by contacting your medical professional. The idea is to quit slowly. Too many people resolve to quit an addictive behavior and try to do so, either on their own or by attempting to quit cold turkey. Again, using tools and quitting on your own is a good start, but most people cannot sustain it for very long. Sure, we’ve all heard how Mr. Smith abruptly quit smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day and was successful. Not everyone can do that. Most of us need help and guidance to stop addictive behaviors and substance use or abuse.

Do Not Start a New Hobby

Here again, is where we feel compelled to learn something new to feel more productive with our leisure time. How many of us added 50 books to a book reading challenge? During our lives, our interests change and evolve. Instead of learning a whole new skill like sewing or cooking, attempting to play the guitar, or learning a foreign language, make a list of skills and hobbies you already have tried.

Perhaps you started knitting 5 years ago and dumped the needles and yarn into your craft box (with other abandoned projects, umm, again like me). Go shop your closet or garage to see what toys, hobbies, crafts, etc., may be lurking, ready to be used again! I found a rug-hooking project that I started 40 years ago (to my shame). Yes, I had to access Youtube to remind myself how to hook the rug, but I finished it and felt pretty good about it. If you find an old project that you can re-try, many craft retail stores offer free classes where you can hone your skills and expand into new ones.

Hobbies

Speaking of classes, your local recreation and park departments and YMCAs offer a variety of classes for all ages, in fitness, crafts, performing arts, martial arts, swim lessons, lap swimming, well…the list is endless! Most classes are inexpensive. By taking a class, you can be introduced to a new skill or hobby without putting too much money or effort into it. If you decide you do not want to continue, you can move on. Community colleges and libraries can also be good sources for free and inexpensive classes and programs.

Moving Forward

So, yes, I tricked you. Start out your New Year with resolve, not resolutions. If you want to change behavior or habits, do so slowly and with purpose. Ask for help. You do not have to walk this path alone. And do NOT try to set too many goals or make too many resolutions. Focus on one big item you want to change and set another smaller goal for something else. And you do not have to wait until January to begin these goals.

We all have barriers that prevent us from making small changes to our fitness routine. Most of these barriers are of our choosing and can be psychological or physical. If the top four resolutions don’t exist in your world, there are other things you can do to jazz up your routine.

At work, try adjusting your work schedule or the hours you work, if possible. Now is the time to ask about doing some work from home, especially now that the pandemic changed our work culture to options for working remotely. If that isn’t allowed, make some small changes, like rearranging items on your desk or in your office. Drive a new way to work, to school, to church. Better yet, take public transportation or ride your bike.

Change your perspective in some way. Choose a small, new step to making your New Year better.

“The road to success is always under construction.”

Special thanks to Marsha of Always Write who inspired my motivation to revisit this old post from 2015 and refresh it as I assess my own fitness and wellness. Although my fitness book is still a work in progress, I plan to post once a month for Fitness Fridays.

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67 thoughts on “Fitness Friday: Forget These Four New Year’s Resolutions

  1. You can decide to make a change and reset any day of the year. It doesn’t have to come once a year on the 1st of Jan. Drastic lifestyle modifications never last long. Great post!

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  2. My new years resolutions have been ” Not to make any resolutions”… just live a happy life & be kind!” I, too love to walk, have been under the weather for about a week, but try to get outside & walk, even if it’s 10 laps around the pool,lol. It feels good to get fresh air & get the body going!!!

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  3. Back when the pandemic started, I surfed through YouTube and found some great workout videos. I still stick with one particular instructor to this day. I’m not a fan of resolutions. I come up with goals when it suits me and stick to them, even though they might take years to accomplish. But I know I’ll get there.

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  4. Excellent post with some most sensible ideas here Terri. Making exercise fun and not by schedule is apt to get people more involved. A real, doable list of ideas! 🙂 xx

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  5. “The road to success is always under construction.” Awesome quote, Terri!

    I’ve always thought that the best diet is to eat less. Of course, I’ve never succeeded in that goal. I love food too much. At least, I’m eating relatively healthy.

    Did you stumble across Charlene Pricket when browsing your fitness VHFs? If so, I have a story about her.

    Welcome back to writing and editing you fitness book. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s a very interesting take on New Year’s resolutions Terri. I am guilty this year and in the past. This year I did not even make it to January 14th a/k/a “Quitter’s Day” when most people throw in the towel on the resolutions.

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  7. Great post, Terri. My big accomplishments since being sick is not having sweets or alcohol. I relapsed only a little during Christmas, but I am back on track – almost a month in, and I have found that substituting treats for sweets is a good thing. I’m not as super strict about carbs but I do add protein to most servings. My new snack of choice – peanut filled pretzels and Premier Protein Bars. I have tried some of the KETO treats and they are just ok, not great, so I won’t buy them again. Meanwhile, I’m eating more salads, less bread, less pasta and more complete meals. Yummy! Not losing much weight, but not weighing every day either! So who knows? Thanks for the great post.

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    1. Thanks, Marsha, glad you enjoyed the info! I’ll have to try the premier protein bars some time. I love the shakes and use them as coffee creamer! Sounds like you’re on the way back to wellness and enjoying treats when possible is good for the soul!

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  8. I kept my hand down because I don’t do New Year Resolutions, Terri. The only thing I ever did was stop taking sugar in my tea. That was on 1st Jan 1993, and I’m glad to say that I’ve never broken it.

    New Year is never a good time to start a resolution because so many people fail and many think they will too especially given that many people dislike January. There are another 364 starting points which to begin (365 in a leap year). I think many people forget that.

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    1. You are so right, Hugh, I think as we get older, we realize that starting over or resolving to change a behavior does not have to start at the new year. It’s still the holidays, right? Diet, exercise, decisions, decisions, might as well wait a few more days. Again it’s media/marketing hype! Kudos for skipping the sugar in your tea!

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      1. And I love your take on this, Terri. It all makes incredible sense. My niece seems to be always on a diet, which usually ends with her putting back on the weight she initially loses. I’ve mentioned that a little of everything is better, but she tells me she doesn’t have the willpower. If she has a square of chocolate, she has to have several more rather than put the bar of chocolate away. Instead, she doesn’t have any chocolate in the house. Her latest was the ‘fasting’ diet, where she only ate between 8 am and 2 pm. It wasn’t a success as she used to wake up hungry.

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      2. Thanks, Hugh. It’s sad that eating has become so tricky. I have my own issues, but mostly keep to using the points system by WW. the external structure and accountability helps me. Along with some kind of exercise. I remember fasting when I was 19 and didn’t eat anything for a few days. It worked then but I couldn’t do that now. I hoe your niece finds a good method to manage her food intake.

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  9. Fortunately, I’ve never been one big on resolutions. Then again, who can’t relate to your examples! Oh boy – do health clubs know that we are on our way after the holidays. Cha-ching! Ever wonder why the diet section in bookstores is so large? Cha-ching! Yep – the joke is on us …. so you recommendation of starting the year with resolve instead of resolutions is a great idea. Well played, Terri.

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  10. Some good tips here. I joined a gym some years ago and find that works for me, as I know I’m just throwing money away if I don’t go regularly! I’ve learned to enjoy my aqua aerobics classes there even though generally I don’t like anything ‘sporty’.

    My resolution this year is to challenge myself to take a photo every day for 365 days, even if I’m not feeling inspired, and post it on Blipfoto. I plan monthly round-ups on my blog too, as not everyone can access Blipfoto and I know my blogging friends will keep me motivated!

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    1. I Loved my gym back in Sacramento and made many friends there, Sarah. The external motivation was very helpful to me in that regard. Your aqua aerobics sounds great and its a wonderful workout. The pandemic destroyed gyms then we moved. Walking suits me these days, and we sprung for a commercial-grade elliptical, which I use 2-3 days a week if I don’t walk. Blipfoto sounds intriguing and your one photo a day sounds doable–thanks for the motivation 🙂 You will have to tell us more about it!

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  11. It’s been eons since I made resolutions, but these are good ideas. I go for a walk most days, but skipped today. I figured an hour slashing at cane grass with a machete was enough exercise for the day!

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  12. Terri,
    I don’t make resolutions anymore, but a few from the past have proved fruitful. I joined the YMCA and love my thrice-weekly exercise class when I am not on the road. I resolved to learn my camera when I retired and it has given me great pleasure. I gave up smoking long ago for an occasional cigar relish each one. Finally, Nutrisystem removed 26 pounds of unwanted fat. Stop drinking?!? I do have my limits…great post! Joe

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    1. I see you as a level headed individual who knows how to enjoy life by making smart choices, Joe! And I’m sure your wife is a wonderful influence! Good for you for sharing your successes. An occasional cocktail makes the world go ’round!

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  13. Great post! Weirdly enough though, I did quit a long-time smoking habit by going cold turkey. It’s not like I had a steely resolve. I just did it. Can’t explain how or why, but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. Thanks for this post!

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  14. Lots of good tips, Terri! I’ve never been good at exercising indoors, but I love a good walk outside! And the whole dieting thing is a disaster for me. I still remember dieting in junior high and high school, usually starving myself a few days, before giving up and eating a bunch of french fries or something equally caloric! 😉 I agree it works better to make smaller changes but not eliminate anything you really love. 🙂

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  15. The thing I really like is your positive approach to all these negatives, Terri. Do you remember Mr. Motivator from TV? You could be my Mrs. Motivator, and you’d be very good at it. Practical solutions to problems. My only real resolution this year was to be kinder, and oh, my, am I struggling with that!

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  16. Great suggestions! Although I don’t have any ‘good’ trails nearby (20-30 minute drive away), I have been having fun walking around the neighborhood and checking out decorating, landscaping, etc. Fresh air and sunshine are good for the soul. Love this “Fitness Friday”.

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  17. Terri, this was an excellent post! At my age, I do not do NYR. For that matter, I don’t believe I ever made any! I am a “if I make up my mind to do something, come Hell or High Water, I’ll get it done one way or another.”…. but it is better to take baby steps and actually meet your goal…….I think it is so easy to give up (for most people) if you don’t meet your goal immediately! We are an Instant Society now, aren’t we? Well done, I’ll add another walk this week! Cady

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    1. I’m glad this spurred you to walk another day, Cady! Since I have dogs, I’m compelled to walk them at least once a day, which is great for all of us. I haven’t really made NY resolutions lately either, although fitness and keeping track of food is pretty much ingrained in me after all these years. Thanks for the lovely comment!

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  18. A fun list, Terri, and all practical ideas for changing up the game in doable ways. Attitude is everything, isn’t it? I especially like the idea of at-home yoga and digging out old craft projects (in fact, I made a few candles yesterday!). Best to you with your non-resolutions and 2022 resolve!

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