As a fitness trainer, I see everyone rush in right at the beginning of the new year. Some stay, most don’t. My regular clients watch and laugh. Here are some tricks to help you get with it and stay with it.

Things To Do Before the New Year

The key word here is before.

Your body may be on the treadmill exercising at the beginning of the year, but your mind better be going before then.

The first step is to find your gym. This could involve a little project of mapping them out and, over the course of a week, stopping by to see them. Walk in, get some prices, walk out. If no one helps you, that tells you something. If you’re greeted by a happy, fit person, it is a great start.

Decide on whether or not you want to work with a trainer. Fitness trainers are absolutely handy people to have around. They’ll train you well and they won’t hurt you. They will teach you things that you can go and apply on your own later. You can also consider doing one month with a trainer and then going off on your own.

Set aside funds for the first three or six months. Based on your choice of gym and whether or not you are getting a fitness trainer to help you through, put the money there. Preferably cash in an envelope. And when you pay, pay those three or six months all at once and work a deal where you can only get a refund if you move or if there is a major emergency in your life. Gyms are willing to do this.

Get at least a week’s worth of exercise gear, including shoes. I have seen major changes in people’s behavior when they have fitness attire that they like and want to wear. It sounds stupid and silly, but just do it. Purchase things you like and will wear, or ask for it for Christmas.

Have a general idea for your diet plan. You’ll want to have worked this over a bit before you jump in. It takes a little study. It’s hard to give blanket advice here because there are a lot of variables involved, but a hint here is to look at a low-glycemic diet. Anyone can benefit from that.

These are all steps that you should think through before the new year. You can make one HELL of a decision when the New Year comes, but that decision should be “To follow the exercise and diet plan I have laid out in detail.”

This is the key, key, major, oh-my-God reason that people fail at their resolution: People don’t follow their New Year’s resolutions because they don’t word them correctly. It’s like one of Harry Potter’s spells. You’ve got to get it just right. The simplest way to go about this is to work out a very detailed and logical exercise/diet plan – then to say, “I will follow the plan and reach the stated goal!” or some such wording.

If you make a New Years resolution to “Lose 20 pounds” but never make one that says “Learn how to lose 20 pounds,” it probably isn’t going to work. Your New Year’s Resolution should be easy to execute.

Start Before the New Year

Yes, I am proposing that you start working on your New Year’s Resolution before the new year.

It is kind of like you’re just clearing the barriers out of the way. You’re starting the engine on this old car just to make sure it runs before the big trip. Maybe you’ve been to the gym for a quick workout or two. In theater they call it a “dress rehearsal.”

Groove in the lines. Meet all people involved but tell them you are committed in January.

Curb the Damage

Whether it is through creative cooking, avoiding Christmas parties or just by going to the mountains for the holidays, try not to stuff yourself during that time.

It sounds very un-American, I know, but taking it easy will help you reach your goals.

You could even go to every single party and partake in the festivities. Take your alcohol and junk food in moderation – go heavy on the dancing. Just look at how much you ate or drank the year before and go a little easier. That way you can say that, overall, you did better this year than last.

I’m just asking for an improvement here. We don’t turn into Superman overnight.

This Is a Good Time To Go With the Crowd

Usually, I don’t tell people to go with the crowd.

But this is the busiest time of every year for gyms. Go with it. There are New Year’s Specials everywhere. You can even talk to a salesman at the gym in early December and say, “I’ll pay you six months in advance right now if you give me the New Year’s Special.” If he says he hasn’t worked out the special yet or gotten it approved, ask him what they did last year. Then say you’ll pay that.

Wheel and deal, baby! Get all this stuff out of the way so that, come January 1st, you are rolling. I don’t want you to go broke doing this and you may not want to put up with a salesman when you’re ready to just work.

And when you get to the gym, you’re going to be in there with people who feel much more awkward and out of shape than you do. That’s always a confidence booster. It’s those quiet times in the gym when the hardcore, year-round athletes are just killing it – those are the times you feel out of shape and demoralized.

But next to the average guy who just gained the usual five pounds from the holidays, you can take a win from it. You’ve got your life that much more in order.

Sit Down and Plan It Out

Personal fitness trainers are not busy during the holidays – use that. I’ve been bored as hell during the holidays due to the amount of people who just give up and say, “I’ll pick it up in the new year.” If someone wants to pay me to do a consultation, I’m happy to take it.

Ask a well-established personal trainer to sit with you for an hour or two. Tell him you’ll pay his usual hourly rates just to plan things out. Fitness trainers will do personal consultations. It is not a commonly advertised thing, but if you come with cash in hand and say, “How much do I need to pay you to talk to me?” You’ll get a response.

Get Friends To Join In With You

Imagine if you actually go through all of the steps above – and then you get someone else to do the same.

Imagine how much more solid your future would be if you and a close ally just pave the way for fitness and health.

A strong individual can do it on their own. I’m sure that Alexander the Great would have no problem getting started. Few people in history have matched his drive.

But many of us have families and we are also working on paving the way for their successful futures and, sometimes, we can forget about our own. It is not selfish to do this for yourself. That’s why it is much easier to do it with a friend. You’re still helping someone, but you’re also accidentally helping yourself.

Parents will understand what I mean on that one.


The biggest difference that I want you to take away from this is that a decision to push hard on a program is not the same as developing a program.

If we separate these steps out, you’ve got a chance at winning.

If you’ve learned the route to drive to the gym, paid months in advance, have the clothing, the shoes, the appointment with a personal trainer, you know where the locker room is, what machines you’ll be using and the name of the receptionist at the gym, you’ll be fine.

If you’re hitting all of those things newly, then you might end up stumbling around and getting frustrated that you haven’t started.

I have handled many people who are frustrated and helped them sort out the different parts of their life. Once we separate them out and work out a plan for each, things calm down. They have something that they can immediately do to better their situation and everything is fine.

People aren’t stupid. Most of the time, it is just an underestimation of planning, mixed with a lack of know-how on it. An experienced personal trainer can help you with this and do it effortlessly. I personally love it and consider it one of the best parts of my job.

The above steps are the totality of my trade secrets.

The payoff when someone reaches their goals months down the line is the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I am worth something.

Hell, it’s better than selling car insurance for a living.

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