Resolutions – not again?

Deliberately waited for a few weeks before releasing this blog….

Why? Because you likely have gone through the age old end year tradition of

  1. Holiday bingeing/blow out – proceed to step B
  2. Feeling bad about yourself & having stern conversations about this is not helping your athletic goals for 2021 – proceed to step C
  3. Stoutly writing down strict hard and fast resolutions (possibly on parchment with an ink quill) to begin at 1 min past midnight on the 31st Dec – proceed to step D
  4. Broken all of them within 2 -3 days – ah well maybe next year

Is there a better way to bring about a change in your habits?

Don’t get me wrong – we all could benefit as athletes by making even the smallest changes to our routines e.g. drinking more water, less social media, nightly stretching etc etc.

Team sky built its dominance of the cycling circuit on the philosophy of marginal gains (ok “possibly” a bad example as they may have done some other stuff too … but you get the point)

However the process of resolutions is not the way to embed real change.

Here is why I think resolutions are flawed and better tips to help embed habits in your life that will more likely stick

  • Realise there is no magic start date: Whilst the start of a new year is enticing to map on big changes you want to make – it is kind of an annual event and in that limiting. Oops damn it – 3 days in #fail – have to wait 362 days to try again
  • Would it not be better to: Decide when it suits you best – maybe a random Tuesday – maybe after your birthday in Dec – be the captain of your own ship.
  • Move away from overly restrictive goals: Too many people put themselves under too much pressure with black/white goals and thus a small slip can lead to a full scale capitulation. For example, you have said no more sweet treats or chocolate until after the A race in 6 months time. So what happens, you forgetfully grab a cookie on a coffee spin with your mates and before you know it – you are bulk buying Reeses pieces on Amazon that night as “sure what is the point”!
  • Would it not be better to: Set loose goals with some flexibility to ease yourself into the new regime e.g. every second day is a sweet free day or no sweet snacks during the day. Change is hard – make it easier on yourself by implementing micro changes.
  • Don’t be so negative man: For me – I find the negative goals e.g. no more beer for the month of Jan, pretty oppressive. Mainly as due to my OCD side of my athlete brain – I feel I never get to a finish line and feel cheated as a result! 
  • Would it not be better to: Set positive goals such as 10 mins stretching every morning or eating 3 pieces of fruit a day. This way you get the smug sense of satisfaction you have “done” the right thing for that day and are control about when it happens rather than a clock.
  • It is not a binary event: This point is linked to having too restrictive goals and believing it has to be all or nothing from a certain date onwards! Man that is WAY too hard – we are human – we make mistakes – it does not mean we fail.  
  • Would it not be better to: Don’t view it as a pass/fail game – ok at it as trying to improve gradually. Would it not be more productive to see what sort of positive behaviour streak you can build up e.g. yeah in Jan the best I did was 6 days without missing one of my training sessions, but now in Feb I am on a 13 day streak!

So good luck this season – and hopefully by using the above guidelines you embed some key habits that will help you along the road to achieving your goal – whatever it may be

Steven Moody has starred in the corporate rat race but found his greatest source of satisfaction came from his 20 years of endurance racing including numerous FULL DISTANCE finishes and world championship qualifications

Realizing this fact, Steven abandoned his cubicle and moved into full time coaching. Steven is now Tri Sutto, FULL DISTANCE UNIVERSITY ®, ITU and Training Peaks level 2 certified and in 2017, was awarded Triathlon Ireland Coach of the year. Browse his pre-built training plans by clicking here or if you have triathlon queries you can contact him via