Retrofit Blog

Realistic New Year's Resolutions

For 2014, stick to a simple, effective plan.

December 26, 2013

As another January approaches, many of us will once again undertake an annual tradition - contemplate how we can improve ourselves. Some of us might even take action. These fleeting ambitions we call New Year's resolutions typically revolve around weight loss and new fitness goals. But come February, many of us will have given up. We'll start the year diving headlong into salads and fish, only to replace them with pizza and beer 30 days later. We'll no longer be excited about joining a gym, but rather a cheese-of-the-month club. And there we are again, not making any progress; not only are we not losing weight, we're actually gaining weight. It's reminiscent of last year …and probably the years to come.

Our inability to stick to New Year's resolutions, especially those surrounding fitness and health, results from us being overly ambitious. We expect too much, too soon. And when we don't see immediate results, we convince ourselves our goals for the New Year were silly and misguided. Well, Retrofit knows that if you fly too close to the sun, you will fall. That's why we advocate a system founded on incremental changes. We encourage you to adopt some light physical activity to start. And, more importantly, be patient. If you are, you're more likely to follow through on your resolutions.

So, now what?

By studying a dataset on individuals who completed one of Retrofit's 12-month programs, we found a significant association between monitoring daily physical activities and weight loss. Our data strongly supports that those individuals who regularly measured something as simple as their steps and weight were far more successful in losing weight. So start small is what we say. In fact, if you make one New Year's resolution for 2014, make it this:

Track your steps and weigh yourself regularly

Okay, maybe that's actually two resolutions, but the idea is simple: keeping track of your daily physical activity can have a profound impact on your health. And keeping track of these things really isn't tricky at all. There are many great portable devices for this very purpose. We recommend the Fitbit® Zip™ Wireless Activity Tracker as well as the Fitbit® Aria™ Wi-Fi Smart Scale.

So, what's this mean?

Based on our analyses, we've found some remarkable outcomes from our graduate dataset:

  • Clients that achieved 10,000 steps per day or more lost on average 10.2% of their body weight and are 2.6 times more likely to reach their weight loss goal.
  • Clients that weighed in five days a week or more lost on average 10.6% of their body weight and are 2.3 times more likely to reach their weight loss goal.
  • Clients that did both of the above lost on average 12.3% of their body weight.

These individuals didn't partake in some fad diet or jump on some overly demanding workout regimen. They simply took the initiative to live better and monitor their physical activity. Nothing too fancy, just simple tracking. So, long story short: self monitoring and light physical activity can help you lose weight. Sure, this sounds obvious, but it's good news isn't it? Maybe, just maybe, you should reconsider your New Year's resolution and start with something small. After all, it can lead to some big results.

Anything else?

Keep in mind that following through with any weight loss goal requires discipline. No matter how lax or physically demanding your attempt to lose weight might be, if you don't have the proper mindset and motivation to keep going, it's easy to throw your hands up in defeat. That's why the members of our study looked to Retrofit in the first place.

With coaching from our teams of experts, you too can attain better fitness routines, healthier nutrition habits, and a positive mindset. If you've made a resolution to improve your physical and mental wellness, we invite you to look into Retrofit's programs. There's one that's right for you.

Oh, for the New Year, Retrofit will have a special offer. So won't you join us in making 2014 a happier, healthier year?

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Buck Hanson Research Analyst

Buck Hanson is a Research Analyst for Retrofit. He has a background in public health research and evidence-based medicine. Prior to working at Retrofit, he held positions at the American Dental Association and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Buck believes beer always tastes better after a long bike ride or a day of skiing.

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