Fitness: This is how long you're likely to stick to your new year's resolutions

"Quitter's Day" is the day when most people abandon their new year's resolutions. When is it – and can you stick to your goals?

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How many new year's resolutions have you broken? Probably one too many. It's easy to make promises after an indulgent Christmas period, and doubly easy to backslide after you've been in a new routine for a couple of weeks. You might feel a little down about not sticking to your goals, especially if you've bought new fitness kit like the best elliptical machines or best adjustable dumbbells, but it's very normal to want to lapse after a couple of weeks.

Research conducted by running app Strava found most fitness-based new year's resolutions last about as long as January 19th, which has been dubbed "Quitter's Day". Based on global athlete data from 2019, we're most likely to give up on our goals around three weeks into the year.

This isn't ideal, obviously: starting a new fitness regime is something you'd want to stick with throughout the whole year. The idea of a "quitter's day" might seem discouraging, but according to Harvard University, this shouldn't stop you dreaming big when it comes to your goals. 

The Harvard report found "an ambitious aim often inspires others around you" as people take on their own challenges and step in to help you achieve your own goals. 

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However, the report goes on to say you should break this goals up into smaller pieces. Many personal trainers recommend using the SMART format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) to help you draft your goals. 

If running a marathon feels like too much for you, but you still want to improve your long-distance running, you could sign up for a race (specific, measurable) which is at half-marathon distance (achievable and relevant) which takes place in September (time-bound).

The Harvard report also said you should be rewarding yourself on a regular basis for your hard work. It says: "Don't wait to call yourself a winner until you've pounded through the last mile of your big dream marathon or lost every unwanted ounce. 

"Health changes are often incremental. Encourage yourself to keep at it by pausing to acknowledge success as you tick off small and big steps en route to a goal."

Set your sights on achievable, attainable goals and figure out a plan to achieve them. Don't make January 19 your quitter's day!

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Matt Evans
Matt Evans

Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. 

Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.