New Year’s Resolutions: How To Succeed

Dear Person-Who-Has-Made-A-New-Year’s-Resolution,

Hello there. My name is Jay. Nice to meet you.

If you’re here, it’s probably because it’s January and you made a New Year’s resolution to do… something.

Maybe quit smoking. Save money. Travel more. Learn a new skill. Find a better job. Spend more time with your family. Get more sleep. Be less stressed. Be more organized. Donate more to charity. Start flossing. Find your soulmate. Blah blah blah.

While all of these things are good and lovely, we both know why you’re really here.

It’s because you, like the vast majority of the population, made a New Year’s resolution to improve your body.

Specifically, you want to lose weight, or build muscle, or be healthier, or get stronger, or eat better, or start working out, or join a gym, or improve your diet, or any combination thereof.

Well, I have some good news and some bad news.

The bad news is that you’re probably going to fail. Sorry, was that too direct? My bad. It’s just that based on some statistics I’ve seen, as little as 8% of people who make a New Year’s resolution will actually succeed at it. That means a whopping 92% of people will fail. So, yeah… reality is definitely not in your favor.

But hey, there is still some good news! I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do to end up being part of the 8% that succeeds this year.

Ready? All it takes are 4 simple steps that go a little something like this…

Step 1: Find The Information You Need To Reach Your Goal

So let’s say you want to lose weight or build muscle or whatever else. Cool.

The first step is to figure out how to actually go about doing that. As in, what causes weight loss? What causes muscle growth? What changes do you need to make to your diet, training and overall lifestyle in order to effectively make these things happen?

To find the answers to these questions, all you need to do is spend some time reading, watching, listening to and absorbing as much relevant diet and fitness information as you can so you know exactly what needs to be done.

Yeah, I know. This step seems pretty obvious. But, the next step probably won’t…

Step 2: Understand That Most Of The Information You Just Found Is Fucking Terrible (And Filter Through It)

In your attempt to follow Step 1, you’re going to come across an overwhelmingly scary amount of information to learn, advice to take and products to buy.

I’d estimate that a minimum of 75% of it is complete horseshit. And that’s probably a very low estimate.

What this means, unfortunately, is that in order for you to avoid putting your time, effort and money into learning/doing/buying the wrong things, you’re going to need to find a way to filter through this excessive amount of bad information to find the tiny amount of real, true, legit, factual, honest, unbiased, evidence-based information you truly need.

Considering the bad stuff outnumbers the good stuff at a ratio of approximately a zillion to one, this is easier said than done.

But guess what? If you’re lucky enough to be on this website reading this right now, you’ve already done it. You’ve found the place you need to be.

So, let me start you off in the right direction…

The links on this list will cover most (if not all) of what you’ll need. Feel free to look around at the many other articles I’ve written if you want/need more. There’s a damn good chance you’ll find every answer you need right here.

Step 3: Use Motivation As The Spark That Gets You To Start Putting The Good Information Into Action

All of the best information in the world isn’t going to get you anywhere if you don’t begin putting it into action.

Fortunately, this will be the easiest step for you.

After all, you just made a New Year’s resolution to reach a specific goal. That means you currently possess the crucial amount of motivation required to light the fire under your ass that gets you to start taking action.

People will often consider this step to be the most important step of all. But it’s not. That distinction goes to Step 4…

Step 4: Understand That The Motivation That Got You To Start Is The Same Motivation That’s Going To Cause You To Fail

Pay extra attention to this one, because this is probably where you’re going to fail.

If it makes you feel any better, this is the step where virtually everyone else fails, too.

It goes something like this…

A person will have a goal (let’s say… to lose weight) and then make it their New Year’s resolution to achieve it.

To do this, they’ll first attempt to figure out what they need to do to lose that weight. If they’re really, really lucky and end up on a website like mine, they’ll skip right over the step of having to distinguish the good information from the horseshit information. Congrats on that. Glad I could help.

From there, they’ll need to begin taking action. And they will. Like I said in the previous step, damn near every single person who makes a New Year’s resolution to do anything will possess all of the motivation they need to START doing it.

But therein lies the biggest problem of them all.

That wonderful feeling of motivation that got you to WANT to reach this goal, and then got you to START doing what’s needed to make it happen, is the same wonderful motivation that is going to cause you to fail.

In fact, assuming this isn’t your first attempt at reaching this (or any) goal, I can all but guarantee that motivation was the reason you failed the previous time(s).

The reason why is simple.

Motivation is great as a means for getting people to START doing something.

You need to have that initial emotional connection to a goal to generate that powerful feeling of wanting to just jump up at that very moment and START DOING SOMETHING to achieve it.

Whether it’s lose weight, build muscle or literally anything else… motivation is the crucial spark that gets things started.

But after that? As a means for getting people to continue doing everything that is required of them? And do it all on a consistent basis day in and day out for as long as it takes for their goal to be reached?

For that purpose, motivation is absolutely terrible.


Here’s an excerpt from Superior Fat Loss, the book I’m currently in the middle of writing…

A lot of people approach fat loss with motivation as the sole (or at least, primary) factor getting them to consistently do what needs to be done.

This is great, except for one thing: motivation doesn’t last forever.

It goes up and down over the course of a day, comes and goes over the course of weeks, and completely vanishes and eventually reappears (if you’re lucky) over the course of months, years and decades.

Just like an emotion, motivation is something that you can feel strongly one minute and then not feel at all the next. Something that can be really high on Monday, but then really low on Tuesday. Something that is capable of gradually becoming less and less over time or suddenly dying out in an instant… potentially never to return. It’s one of the most inconsistent feelings a person will ever experience.

Yet, it’s still the thing people rely on the most to get themselves to consistently do all of the things – big and small – that they need to be doing on a daily basis (e.g. working out, eating right, etc.) to reach and permanently maintain their fat loss goals. Unfortunately, when you are relying on something so laughably fickle for this purpose, you’re all but guaranteed to run into problems at some point.

For someone who makes a New Year’s resolution to improve their body, that point often comes as soon as February.

That’s the point when all of the gyms around the world conclude their annual transition from being empty in December, to super crowded in January, to empty once again in February when all of the “New Year’s resolution people” start to disappear.

Why does this happen, you ask? Why does this same process repeat itself every single year on an infinite loop? Why do most people fail to succeed at their resolution?

Above all else, it’s this unjustified reliance on motivation.

You’re relying on something that is as unreliable as it gets. You’re counting on something that simply cannot be counted on.

And the ironic part is that you already know this. You’re not a stranger to the inconsistency of motivation. None of us are. We all know exactly how it works. We’ve all experienced it in various aspects of our lives hundreds if not thousands of times before.

Sometimes we’re motivated to do something… sometimes we’re not.

Most often of all, we’re not.

And you know this.

But yet, you keep coming back to it time and time again, repeating the same mistake over and over, attempting to rely on motivation as THE thing that gets you to consistently do what needs to be done.

You keep giving it another chance as if something will be different this time around.

“This time motivation will stay high every minute of every day and last forever!!! I can feel it!! I’m super motivated now! More so than ever before! This time will be different!!! #NewYearNewMe”


Good luck with that.

The Solution

Rather than go down that path yet again and continue this never-ending cycling of using motivation to start something only to have it fail you soon after, I have a much better suggestion.

Stop relying on motivation.

Instead, rely on building momentum with the habits and consistency that will get you where you want to be.

This way, you’ll become capable of doing what needs to be done without requiring yourself to constantly feel motivated to do it.

If you’re confused by any of this, don’t worry.

Superior Fat Loss will cover all of it better than you’ve ever seen it covered before. Stay tuned.

But until then, I’m not going to leave you hanging with nothing. Check out the video below from my buddy JC Deen. He expands on all of this and more…

The End

And that about does it.

I hope you follow the 4 steps outlined above, because they will be the difference between your success and failure.

But hey, if you don’t? You can always try again next year.

And the year after that. And the year after that. And the year after that.

For more on this topic, check out: How To Get (And Stay) Motivated To Workout And Lose Weight


P.S. Happy New Year!

P.P.S. If you know someone who made a resolution this year (and who most likely made the same resolution in previous years), feel free to show them this.

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About Jay
Jay is the science-based writer and researcher behind everything you've seen here. He has 15+ years of experience helping thousands of men and women lose fat, gain muscle, and build their "goal body." His work has been featured by the likes of Time, The Huffington Post, CNET, Business Week and more, referenced in studies, used in textbooks, quoted in publications, and adapted by coaches, trainers, and diet professionals at every level.

23 thoughts on “New Year’s Resolutions: How To Succeed”


  1. Happy New Year! Love the “forming habits” part of this. Too true! Been doing the same workout you recommend since last August and am seeing great results! Thanks for the help! I’m a fan for life!

  2. Okay Jay! A Happy & Successful New Year to you my friend! Yet another great article that just may ‘save Gotham’ yet! I enjoyed your wisdom here and as a result of relying on Momentum and not ‘motivation’, I’ve made great strides in my muscle building/fat loss goals! Thanks again for yet another outstanding article!! LOVED IT!

  3. great article …. really woke me up to reality …. I am currently struggling with being consistent to playing online poker because that’s my primary source of money … there are days where I am on tilt and I really don’t want to play it again… but I have to remember every time that it is worth it in the long run… consistency and momentum over motivation baby.

      • you can make money from online poker if you apply strategy and play daily …the luck factor is only 10% and only in the short run … not the long run. people think it’s just a gambling game …. those are the primary groups of people who give me money … so anytime somebody says Poker is just gambling …. I just see a source of money written all over him lol.

  4. Such a well written and honest article!
    But I have a suggestion … Please put in some notification alert in your web page where the person can get notified when you reply to any one of his comments.
    Thanks and happy new year!

  5. Okay, I’m sorry this is a bit irrelevant but there used to was a sample program with military presses on this site as a part of a upper/lower body split schedule and I have been madly searching for it with no results.

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