Don’t give up on your New Year’s resolutions

Marcus Bishop,

We’re nearly two months into 2017, and the new year has lost its feeling of newness. The holidays have passed us by, and our lives are back to their regular busy flow. So what about our New Year’s resolutions?

“Getting healthy” was hands down the most popular resolution leading up to 2017, according to data pulled from Google search terms by iQuanti, a digital marketing agency used by Fortune 500 companies. Getting healthy is usually a top contender as a resolution, but the physical fitness component of health saw a big spike: There was a 315 percent increase around the search term “gym,” according to the data.

But how likely are we to be successful at becoming more healthy and fit?

Unfortunately, there is too much misinformation and misguidance about achieving fitness. Health and fitness advice is often cookie cutter, comes with little to no personalization or consideration for one’s skill level, and comes from so-called experts with unaccredited degrees or a nice body.

“Sadly, the number of people who fall victim to unrealistic quick-fix solutions is in the tens of millions,” Crunch Fitness co-founder Craig “The Fit Advocate” Donat told in 2007. “All the while, companies that sell ineffective products, cheap services and unrealistic results profit at your expense.”

I have spent much of the past decade discovering fitness. High school wrestling, the California International Marathon, collegiate wrestling, bodybuilding and powerlifting have each taught me something invaluable about myself and about fitness.

By training alongside people of all gender, shapes and sizes, I have learned that each of us is unique, and it’s important to continue trying new outlets until you find what works for you. Here are a few things that might help you attain the health and fitness New Year’s resolution you want:

You’re probably taking on too much

Though visions of self-improvement are good, we often set our sights for change too high. Rather than focusing on changing one thing at a time, we become overwhelmed by wanting to change too much too fast.

At the end of 2016, senior writer Carolyn Gregoire of the Huffington Post published an article stating that, “When it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions, most people shoot for the moon. When it comes to health goals in particular, all-or-nothing goals ― which are usually based on unrealistic expectations and don’t leave any wiggle room ― are a setup for failure.”

We are all beautiful  

The standards of beauty that we are held to are often unrealistic:  Men are taught early on that “machismo” and muscle are needed to be competitive with other males, and women are held to an unrealistic “magazine cover” body image.

“Desperate to conform to an ideal and impossible standard, many women go to great lengths to manipulate and change their faces and bodies,” author and filmmaker Jean Kilbourne said in her 2014 TED Talk, “Killing Us Softly.” “[Women are] conditioned to view her face as a mask and her body as an object, as things separate from and more important than her real self, constantly in need of alteration, improvement, and disguise.”

A study conducted in the 1980s by Laurel Mellin, a University of California San Francisco professor, showed that nearly 80 percent of fourth-grade girls in the Bay Area are watching their weight, according to Kilbourne.

No matter how great the pressure to look a certain way might be, we are all beautiful human beings, who thanks to genetics, come in many different shapes and sizes. Be happy with who you are, and what you possess. Don’t aim to be skinny. Aim to be fit, fast, strong and healthy. This doesn’t mean you need to have muscles, for athletes come in all different shapes in sizes.

Help your neighbor

For the fitness advanced, it is your responsibility to accurately and responsibly guide those who are finding their way in the world of fitness. Do not flood them with advice, but rather look out for them. Correct bad lifting form, help them with gentle nods towards better eating and above all, give them encouragement.

Come up with a plan

It’s time to give your New Year’s resolution another shot. Start with a single manageable goal. Aim to lose 2 pounds, and then 5 and then 10 rather than starting with an expectation to lose 20. Slowly incorporate new foods and new exercises on a weekly basis instead of driving yourself mad with treadmills and salads for weeks on end. Mixing things up will help keep you interested. The longer that you stay interested, the better chance you have of your goal sticking. If you’re still worried about managing your goal, seek out a trainer that suits your skill level. Invest in tech like the Fitbit to track your vitals, or use something like or its companion app to efficiently search, log and track your daily caloric intake.