Skip to content

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

New Year's Resolution Makeovers

Learn how to make your resolutions last longer than a passing thought.

WebMD Feature

What does Valentine's Day have to do with New Year's resolutions? By then, most resolutions to exercise, lose weight, get out of debt, and others have fallen by the wayside, say experts in achievement motivation theory and goal setting. But don't let a history of failed resolutions stop you from aspiring to grow and achieve. Make this the year for resolution makeovers.

Start by phrasing your resolutions in ways that make them specific, measurable, and positive. WebMD asked Gary Ryan Blair, author of Goal Setting 101: How To Set and Achieve a Goal, and Sally A. White, PhD, authority on achievement motivation theory, for help with makeovers of common resolutions. For example:

  • Last Year: Get in shape.
  • This Year: Go to gym three times a week, and workout 60 to 90 minutes.


  • Last Year: Spend more time with kids.
  • This Year: Reserve two hours every Sunday for a family-only activity.


  • Last Year: Lose weight.
  • This Year: Weigh 130 pounds and wear my size 10 jeans by June 1.


  • Last Year: Get organized.
  • This Year: Every morning between 8:30 and 9, list tasks according to A, B, or C priorities.


  • Last Year: Be healthier.
  • This Year: Eat five fruits and vegetables a day, walk 30 minutes a day three to five times a week, and limit McDonald's to once a week.


  • Last Year: Get out of debt.
  • This Year: Cut up Discover card, and pay $100 over the minimum payment each month.


  • Last Year: Have more fun.
  • This Year: Schedule fun activities, such as bike riding, going to garage sales, hearing live music, etc., twice a week.


Be Specific, Measurable, and Positive

Blair, who lives in Syracuse, N.Y., tells WebMD why saying, "Weigh 130 pounds and wear my size 10 jeans by June 1" is a better resolution than "lose weight." "Our minds work best when we give it a specific target." The brain works like a pilot light, and once you specify what you want with complete certainty this helps set your mind to work on it."

1 | 2 | 3

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

pilates instructor
15 moves that get results.
woman stretching before exercise
How and when to do it.
couple working out
Moves you can do at home.
woman exercising
Strengthen your core with these moves.
man exercising
knees to chest
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench

Pollen counts, treatment tips, and more.

It's nothing to sneeze at.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.


Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
woman walking
woman doing pushups