Want to crush your New Year’s fitness resolutions? Try a past year review instead.

Well, it’s almost that time again for New Year’s resolutions. What’s yours? Get stronger? Run a marathon? Look great naked?

Stats on New Year’s resolutions – especially those that involve fitness – are quite abysmal. According to studies, while 60 percent of us will make New Year’s resolutions, only 8 percent of us will achieve them. You’ve probably seen it first hand: gyms that are packed on January 2 are ghost towns by March. 

So, if you’ve got a fitness resolution – or one on repeat from years past – how can you follow through and crush it this year?

Inspired by a practice by entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, try a past year review first. By identifying what worked and what didn’t over the past 365 days, you’ll be able to make well-informed, actionable plans that get ‘er done in the year to come.

Here’s how to conduct a Past Year Fitness Review step by step.

Set aside 30-60 minutes, find something to write on, and grab some strong coffee. Here’s what to do: 

  1. On your paper or whiteboard, create two columns: Positive and Negative.
  2. Starting with January of the past year, look back through your calendar or fitness tracker going week by week.
  3. For each week, write down any activities, competitions, events, or injuries that had a positive or negative outcome on your fitness for that month. Whether personal or professional, anything that evokes a strong memory or response counts. Jot them down in their respective columns.
  4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your lists and ask yourself, “What 20% of events in each column produced the most reliable or powerful positive or negative peaks?” Place an asterisk next to or highlight these.
  5. Take your top 20% Positive Leaders events and schedule more of them in the next year. These are things that make you happy, give you energy, and make workouts feel like just a regular part of your lifestyle.
    • Book these events now! Reach out to friends and family, buy any equipment, sign-up for events, or book travel that you’ll need. You haven’t committed until there’s a little skin in the game.
  6. Now for the top 20% Negative Leaders:  put them on a “NOT-TO-DO LIST” list. These are the things that put you in a bad mood, make you feel guilty, or drain your energy for workouts. 
    • Post a list of your Negative Leaders somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of next year, so you’re more likely to avoid habits.

Why does the Past Year Review work?

The idea is simple: people like to do things that make them feel good. By filling your calendar with Positive Leaders – and the people and events that go along with them – you automatically make less room for Negative Leaders to hijack your life. 

Give the Past Year Fitness Review a try – write it out, make an effort, and keep showing up every day. 

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