WHY you suck at your New Year’s resolution

By: David Wu

The first week of CIF gym stats (daily # people in the gym) runs like this:

85, 80,50, 65, 80 … (Mon-Fri)

Second week’s not bad either. By the third week, we give it one more go:

86, 78,53, 65, 75

And by the fourth week, numbers drop to where I’m happy to finally see free squat racks:

50, 44, 38, 42, 58

Why are we such a pile of suck when it comes to staying on track and getting to the gym?

Why’s it so hard for me to stay motivated?


Everyone wants to lose weight & build muscle, and hopefully for us, get stronger. You’ve probably heard that to make your goals more tangible, you’ve got to objectify them and put some numbers behind it.

Losing 2 pounds of fat per week for a total of 12lbs in 6 weeks is better then simply wanting to get rid of those love handles right?

Truth is, objective goals aren’t enough. Over the last few months, I’ve been looking into why people find it so hard to keep a habit and change. My purpose wasn’t only to help the people I train, but to uncover limitations to my own progress.

Get clear on your dream/core values (or at least really figure out your WHY)

People fail on their New Year’s Resolution, because their goals aren’t meaningful or relevant to their life mission or dream. Losing 4 pounds doesn’t mean much when what you really want to do is expand your business, get into grad school, travel the world, or play with your kids. Or Look Good Naked.

But figuring out how those relate or connect with what you really want to do completely changes the game. Those 4 pounds might make it easier for you concentrate in your studies because you’ll be more healthy. Four pounds might really be because you want to appeal to the opposite sex and land one.

The Letter R

This article brought to you by the letter “R”

You may have heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals. In this article, Jon Goodman talks about why having goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Timely aren’t enough and that having ones that are Revelant is really the key to succeeding (1). In other words, this means having New Year’s resolutions that connect with your life mission or at least figuring out how they relate to what you truly want.

Seems complicated. I’d like to tackle this in 2 steps.

What’s ur WHY?

If you know me, I’m all about getting to the root cause. While we talk about this in physiology and movement dysfunction, it’s essential to succeed in goals and setting habits.

Toyota has a simple way to figure out any obstruction/limitation to productivity: they ask “Why” 5 times. Each “why” peels away the excuses and layers until the root cause of the problem is uncovered.


John Berardi, PhD, of Precision Nutrition has also adopted this method and gives us an example of how 5Whys can help us get to the source of limitation and identify the necessary area for intervention:

 “Client: ‘I just can’t eat a healthy diet.’
You: “Why?”
Client: ‘I don’t feel I was cut out for it.’
You: ‘Really, why so?’
Client: ‘Well, um, it’s just hard for me to do, with all the planning.’
You: ‘Why is the planning hard for you?’
Client: ‘It seems hard to juggle with all my work demands and stuff.’
You: ‘Why so?’
Client: ‘I feel there’s no time to go shopping, with my commuting, and the kids, and Bob working longer hours.’”(2)

Whether you use 3 or 5 “why”s is up to you. Keep asking away until you find an answer that compels you to action.


But Why?

What’s the meaning of YOUR life?

If you’ve connected your goal with a reason but you’re having trouble keeping up with habits and motivation, maybe your said life desire isn’t what you really want. It’s important to get very clear on what you really want to do. With some careful introspection, you might be able to get a clue of what it is. It’s been said that if you’re on the right track, your life purpose should make you cry (3).

To be honest, I still don’t have a clear picture of what my mission is (or what I want to do when I grow up). In that case, what are your core values & principles?

For me, it’s simplicity, empowering others and walking the walk. Knowing that I have to represent what I promote means everything to me.

Before you continue on with 2013, take a second to re-evaluate your goals and apply some of the ideas from this article. Having a fresh start is a wonderful thing, but having focus is extraordinarily powerful. Stay strong my friends.

Happy New Years 2013,

David Wu


  1. Goodman, Jon. Your SMAT goals are stupidThe PTDC. 5 June 2012.  2 Jan. 2012.
  2. Berardi, John & Scott-Dixon, Krista. “Clients not sticking with the program? Here’s help!” Ideafit. May 2012. 2 Jan 2012.
  3. Pavlina, Steve. “How to discover your Life Purpose in About 20 minutes” StevePalvina.com. 16 Jan. 2005. 2 Jan. 2012.

Did this article help you? Let me know!

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warriors strengthDavid Wu is the Student of Movement. He runs a blog with the same name. Add him on facebook or email him if you’ve got any questions, or would just like to say hi.

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