It’s that time of the year again-the time when it’s hard to avoid such questions as “What are your New Year’s resolutions”. Attend a party or event, walk by a newsstand, and keep your ears open at a cafe-you’re likely to hear chatter from people about how 2018 is their year to finally accomplish weight loss, reach a goal, or make significant healthy changes in their lives.

People have joined the gym, hired a trainer, pledged to cut out junk food, and to make other healthy changes, yet they fail, and they fail miserably. The reason: motivation. Their only motivation is January 1 and that simply isn’t strong enough.

To stick with your pursuit of goals and resolutions this year, it’s important to replace your self-doubt, fear, and anxiety about making changes with a sense of certainty, control, and fearlessness.

Here are my tips for successfully sticking to your fitness goals in 2018:

1. Forget the same old resolutions and following the latest trendy tabloid-driven diets for major weight loss.

The focus should be on lasting lifestyle changes rather than a number. People usually get lazy and frustrated a month or so into the New Year in the wake of lofty, rigid, and unrealistic approaches that are often established by ill-equipped and over-zealous trainers.

2. Set goals for yourself out of inspiration, not desperation.

Goals that are borne from guilt, for example, after a night of indulgence on alcohol and bar food, will lack staying power. Similarly, forget about being part of a trend just because it is the style du jour.

3. To make big changes think small and keep it simple.

You don’t need expensive trainers and gyms. You do need support and something that won’t break your bank so join a class or gather some friends who also want to get in shape. Take stairs instead of elevators; replace soda with water with lemon; walk briskly for 15 minutes on your lunch break.

4. Be detailed and specific.

Vague generalizations like “I want to lose weight”, will lead you nowhere in a hurry while “I’m going to take the 6:00 pm kick-boxing class on Mondays and Wednesdays”, will get you closer to your goal.

5. Be realistic.

Losing 50 pounds by April isn’t healthy and certainly isn’t realistic. Break the larger end-goal into smaller manageable ones. Set realistic weekly goals within a healthy time-frame. Reaching these smaller ones will motivate you towards the larger goals.

6. Lose weight by losing the rigidity.

Extreme behavior changes such as cutting out all carbohydrates or sugar don’t work. This thinking promotes perfectionism and leads to sabotaging one’s efforts. Choose to make changes that you can actually stick to.

7. Make a distinction between feeding your body and feeding your emotions.

Get to know the role your mind plays on your body. Depression, anxiety, stress, relationship problems, and loneliness can all lead to unhealthy behavior. By addressing the underlying emotions you’ll be able to nix the poor coping methods that have been adding inches to your waistline.

And if you’re already falling off the wagon, don’t wait until 2019 to
start over again. Every week, and every day, presents a new opportunity
for change. There really isn’t anything magical about January 1.

Originally published at


  • Jonathan Alpert

    Psychotherapist, executive performance coach, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days. Twitter: @JonathanAlpert

    Jonathan Alpert is a psychotherapist, columnist, performance coach and author in Manhattan. As a psychotherapist, he has helped countless couples and individuals overcome a wide range of challenges and go on to achieve success. He discussed his results-oriented approach in his 2012 New York Times Opinion piece, “In Therapy Forever? Enough Already”, which continues to be debated and garner international attention. Alpert is frequently interviewed by major TV, print and digital media outlets and has appeared on the Today Show, CNN, FOX, and Good Morning America discussing current events, mental health, hard news stories, celebrities/politicians, as well as lifestyle and hot-button issues. He appears in the 2010 Oscar-winning documentary, Inside Job commenting on the financial crisis. With his unique insight into how people think and their motivations, Alpert helps clients develop and strengthen their brands. He has been a spokesperson for NutriBullet, Liberty Mutual insurance, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Jonathan’s 2012 book BE FEARLESS: Change Your Life in 28 Days has been translated into six languages worldwide. Alpert continues to provide advice to the masses through his, Huffington Post, and Thrive columns. @JonathanAlpert