Struggling To Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions? Ask Yourself One Question

Woman holding calendar

It’s hard not to get swept away in a wave of resolve when everyone you know is on a health kick, going vegan or pursuing a hobby.

Like many, I used to get to December 31st and decide this was the year.

Our dreams always seem a grasp away when the clock strikes 12. The past year turns into a distant memory, making room for 365 new chances to finally do things right.

However, this New Year was different for me.

There were no resolutions, no promises to myself that I would do better. I had no desperate hopes that maybe this would be the year I would stick to my resolutions.

And yet, my dreams got bigger and my goals became more daring.

The reason?

I asked why.

To provide some context:

I was under the illusion that I needed to go to the gym and get fit since my early 20’s,. When New Year came around, my resolution was always the same:

Get. Fit. And. Start. Lifting.

black dumbbells on white table
Photo by Delaney Van on Unsplash

The problem was I absolutely detested going to the gym. It triggered anxieties I never knew I had within mere seconds.

I would beat myself up for only training once that week.

How would I ever see results with that lack of commitment?

Upon arriving at the air conditioned sliding doors that guarded the gym, my stomach would turn and my hands would gradually become colder and clammy.

Five minutes later and the nausea would kick in, my stomach hurting to its core. All I wanted to do was run away (and most certainly not on the treadmill).

Instead of fleeing, I would half-ass a workout. Rushing home, I would breathe a sigh of relief that the workout session was over.

It’s crazy I thought this was a normal response.

Instead of checking in with myself and looking deeper, I forced myself through the same routine, the same anxiety to try to fit in a box that I didn’t quite match the dimensions of.

Every year I set the same resolution. Every year I would have given up by the second month (if that).

I finally questioned my suffocating anxiety and lack of commitment to getting fit last spring.

I was left asking why?

Why did I force myself to go to the gym and gain muscle so desperately?

Why did I keep setting myself the same goal, but never committed to putting in the work?

That’s when the whole facade of the New Year’s resolution shattered around me.

The problem I had, and the one many of us face, was the shadow quietly lurking underneath all my resolutions.

The Insecurities Behind Resolutions

My resolutions were bred from lack.

A deficiency in my own self-belief, worth and confidence. A place of feeling very small in an extremely large world, with larger than life characters and even larger pressures.

I didn’t feel enough, period.

Eating healthy meant I would feel good on the inside. Going to the gym meant I would feel good on the outside.

But I would still be me.

Nothing would change that.

There would be no miraculous before and after where I would end up being someone entirely different.

With or without muscle and a plate full of vegetables, I will always be me.

As I realised how my resolution was preying on my insecurities, it all seemed so shallow.

It wasn’t about the resolve to be better, it was about the need to change myself. To be recognised and fit into a larger than life world.

So, with this in mind, let’s skip forward to today:

How do you identify when a resolution has pure intent or when you’re playing hide and seek with your insecurities?

Simply ask: ‘why?

Why do you care so much about that resolution in particular and feel pulled towards it?

Why do you think your life will be better when you achieve it?

There is nothing wrong with going to the gym. Nothing unspeakable about wanting to live a healthier life. Certainly nothing despicable about wanting better for yourself.

But before you beat yourself up for not training 5 times a week:

Ask yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.

Is it the gains and added muscle? Or is it just to find the love for yourself you’ve been missing all along?


N.B: I still don’t have a gym membership and I regularly do home workouts, which I actually enjoy!
Nowadays, if I want to make a change in my life, I start that very day. But before I do anything, I always question why?

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