The New Year is now officially upon us. Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Well, if you’re like most, you have at least one resolution. And, if you are like the majority of these promise-makers, your resolution is probably related to health and fitness….somewhere in the realm of eating healthier, exercising more, and losing weight.

While resolutions are well intentioned, unfortunately most people fail at keeping them. With all the hype surrounding these promises, it’s easy to get caught up in them without really taking them seriously.

As a fitness/nutrition professional I see clients who have the best intentions of achieving these goals, and they will start out roaring like a lion out of the gate. Completely changing all their habits (which I think is the first problem), but then get discouraged after a few weeks as they do not see immediate results, only to eventually give in the towel feeling defeated. Something gets lost between great intention, initial action and sustained behavior.

So what is the secret to successful resolutions?  What makes that small percentage of people (studies show under 20%) achieve and stick to their desired change? After all, we have all heard stories of people making some pretty extraordinary changes to their lives which started from a New Year’s resolution. Which is why I have reached out to good friend and amazing Life Coach Melissa Penton to help fill in the important gaps on making and sustaining huge life changes.. She offers some great, useful advice below…


First of all, I know there is something really special about the New Year and a fresh start, but truth be told, it doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, we are always somewhere on the continuum of change. So here are a few tips and questions I’ve used to help people on their change journey!

1: Scratch the word resolution

Resolution means to settle or find a solution to a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. Sure your health might not be optimal but if you approach it from a negative headspace it will stay in a negative headspace. Instead, try setting intentions, goals or just trying something new. The quality of your practice determines the quality of your outcome. So start from a positive place.

2: Do you know what’s changed?

Let’s say your intention was to eat healthier and after a few months I ask you “what’s changed?” and you say “I don’t really know, all I know is I feel better.” That does not long-term-change-make.  You absolutely need to know what change has happened…it’s all in the details. Track what you felt like before you started doing the work and then track what changed after.

So before you started eating healthier you were suffering from insomnia, you were hungry about an hour after dinner, you felt lethargic in the morning, etc. Then you stopped eating carbs at night and stuck to eating only proteins and vegetables for dinner, overtime you noticed you were sleeping better, you weren’t hungry after dinner and you were starting to wake up earlier and with more energy. And in case you fall off the wagon, knowing what’s changed makes picking yourself back up easier and also lets you revel in your accomplishments…which is the whole point right?!?

3: Do you really care?

So now that you know how your intention is affecting your life…is the change worth it? Do you really care? Why is your intention, goal, whatever you want to call it, important to you? And my favourite question – was it really that hard, why or why not?

Sometimes, some people might say they do care, but it’s hard to break an old habit…like smoking for example. And with an excuse like that it’s time to pull out the big guns – would you care if your son or daughter lost their parent because of lung cancer, would you care if your partner was sick all the time from smoking…Think of someone very important to you and imagine their life without you or vice versa. Is the change worth it?

4: After you fail, then what?

Some people are afraid to make changes in their life solely because they’re afraid to fail. Failing is a part of succeeding. If you’re not failing it means you’re not even trying.

Think of the Olympics and all the athletes going to Sochi who failed in Vancouver and are looking for redemption. Some will conquer and some will fail again, but however you want to look at it they are all out there trying. Winning a medal might be the top prize but making it to the Olympics is just as good because it means you did the work and showed up! Failing is inevitable, but how you handle it will be what sets you apart!

5: You can’t conquer Everest in one go or you’ll die

Just as you mentioned above Justine, when you spring out of the gate with the intention to change everything and never look back you overload and breakdown. So chill out! Take each day one at a time, track your changes, notice what’s different in your life, if you fall get back up and do it again and always remember why you’re doing what you’re doing!

Thanks so much to Melissa for those great tips! Check out her beautiful website and follow her on twitter @MelissaPent0n for daily words of inspiration!