A New Improved New Year’s Resolution – Take small steps to tackle big health and fitness goals

It’s no coincidence local gyms are busiest during the first two weeks of the New Year. We all have the best intentions in mind. We want to lose 20 pounds, stop eating sugar, and participate in that triathlon next fall.

The turn of a new year presents a fresh chance, a realm of possibility.

The problem is, our resolutions are often unrealistic and highly time constrained. Good intentions are simply not enough if you want to start making real change.


“I find New Year’s resolutions don’t work for people because they set a big goal that isn’t sustainable or achievable,” says Joe Derochie, owner and studio manager of the new Orangetheory Fitness in Newmarket.

While buying a gym membership sounds like a good start, it’s just one step. If you really want to make some big changes in 2016, keep the following tips in mind.

This allows you to monitor your progress on a more frequent basis. “When it comes to weight loss, you don’t want to set a goal of [losing] 20 pounds right off the bat – it’s not realistic, and often times it’s very discouraging when you don’t lose that weight,” Derochie says.

Instead, he advises setting a goal to lose one to two pounds every two weeks. “That’s more sustainable because you’re not making any dramatic lifestyle changes.”


The same recommendation applies to your dieting goals. “Make sure it’s something you can work into your life, not some kind of drastic change you can’t keep up with,” says Christine Hickson, nutritionist and owner of Healthy Now. “If you’re aiming to eat clean, try working fish into your diet twice a week.”

Be specific about what action steps you’re going to take. “Try to get your 30 minutes of cardio and strength training at least three to four times a week,” says Derochie. “[Keep in mind], you are getting a lot of benefits even if you aren’t seeing a dramatic loss in weight.”

Focus on creating weekly meal plans, and making a grocery list with nutritious, healthy ingredients. Then take it one day at a time. “I plan out a week in advance and then I do a nightly plan as well,” Hickson says. This way, if you fall off track, you can pick yourself back up without losing momentum. “Tomorrow’s another day,” she says.

BUILD IN SOME ACCOUNTABILITY. Look to share your goals with other people who can offer support and encouragement along the way.  “Let your family and friends know you want to make some healthy changes and explain what you’re going to do to make that happen,” says Hickson. You may also consider partnering up with someone who has similar goals in mind, and scheduling workouts and grocery shopping dates together.

“When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, the two biggest pitfalls are motivation and consistency,” says Derochie. Orangetheory Fitness holds reservation-based classes for gym members, which are monitored by a personal trainer who helps provide added motivation and encouragement to help you reach your goals. “We really help hold people accountable, because it’s like making a doctor’s appointment,” he says. “If you’re going to make that appointment, people are going to expect you to show up.”

“If you hate going to the gym, don’t go to the gym,” says Hickson. “Go swimming, or take up cycling. If you like to play basketball, join a basketball league.” Give yourself permission to have a little fun along the way.

Local Links:

Orangetheory Fitness, Newmarket

Healthy Now, Newmarket

Curves, Aurora

Goodlife Fitness, Newmarket

Joyride 150 Indoor Bike Park, Markham

Newmarket Recreation

Aurora Fitness

by Charlotte Ottaway

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