Why one in 12 give up on their new year fitness goals after just one day

One in 12 of us give up on our fitness goals after just one or two days. (Getty Images)
One in 12 of us give up on our fitness goals after just one or two days. (Getty Images)

It's that time of year when we vow that we're going to smash our fitness goals in 2024. We promise that January is going to be the start of a new healthier us, declaring our plan to up our exercise regime and regularly hit up the gym.

But turns out our good intentions don't actually last that long, with new research revealing that one in 12 of us give up on our fitness resolutions after just one or two days.

A marginally more resolute seven out of 10 of us last a little longer, abandoning their New Year's resolution after a month or less, while one in seven give up getting fit after just one week.

Just one in 10 say they manage to stick to their new health habits for six months or more.

The report, by Live Rugby Tickets, found that the top goal for the new year is to exercise more, while improving health and losing weight were also listed as goals for 2024.

When asked about their top ways to try to stick to their resolutions, 28% say tracking their progress helps them remain on course, 27% recommended planning ahead with their goals and just over a fifth (21%) said being realistic helped them keep to their goals.

One in six (15%) respondents’ also recommended rewarding yourself to stay on track.

Around half of us have vowed to exercise more in 2024. (Getty Images)
Around half of us have vowed to exercise more in 2024. (Getty Images)

But despite these plans to stay on track, it seems Brits are giving up on our vow to get fit much sooner than we plan.

So where are we going wrong?

According to behaviour change specialist, Sarah Bolitho, there are three common mistakes Brits are making when pursuing their fitness goals.

1. Setting superficial goals

This involves setting a superficial goal, but not thinking about the deeper benefits or gains from it.

"For example, setting the goal of losing a stone in weight," Bolitho explains. "The end goal is there, however when you dig deeper and ask why you’ve set that goal in the first place - there may be a poor understanding of the health benefits such as being able to run again, relieving pressure on joints, or reducing blood pressure."

Bolitho says a better understanding of why you’ve set these goals is more likely to keep you on track.

2. Poor planning

While the outcome goal has been set, the actual steps to achieve this successfully are not planned out properly.

"If the goal is to be able to run a marathon, you won’t be able to achieve this overnight," Bolitho explains. "You need to plan out each individual step to suit and aid you in your end goal, such as: getting the right running shoes, learning about nutrition and hydration, starting with a 100, 200 metre run, or getting a running buddy.”

Why are fitness goals so difficult to stick to? (Getty Images)
Why are fitness goals so difficult to stick to? (Getty Images)

3. Setting expectations too high

Not beginning goals from where we currently are in terms of knowledge or ability is another resolution mistake we are making.

"Instead people jump ahead and expect to succeed instantly," Bolitho explains. "You need to focus on the journey, rather than jumping ahead to the outcome.

"A weight loss aim may start with 'eating healthier', but we need to break that down and start small – swap one bag of crisps for an apple this week, next week swap a can of pop for a glass of water. Simple changes will be gradually absorbed into your life and build confidence you need to accomplish bigger aims."

Bolitho says she advises her clients to start right now, not tomorrow, not next month, or even on the 1st of January.

"Do so now," she says. "If they aren't ready to start today, then the likelihood is that they don't really want the goal."

For those struggling to meet their fitness goals fitness and nutrition expert, Scott Harrison has given further advice to ensure we don't fall off the exercise resolution wagon.

Start small

Something like 20 minutes of exercise three times a week is absolutely fine for a beginner. Then gradually increase intensity and time.

Set day-to-day achievable goals

And structure a plan that gets the job done early in the day if you can so you are less likely to procrastinate. You should also make sure you take part in exercise you enjoy, so you’ll be more likely to want to do it every time.

Establish a routine

Stay consistent and don't be too hard on yourself if there are setbacks. There is no straight line to the top and nor should there be.

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