How To Accomplish Your Fitness Goals This Year Once & For All

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The New Year is here, and with it comes big hopes and wishes. It’s the perfect time to write down some goals and make this year better than the previous one.

Looking back over the past year, are you currently more or less fit, than you were on January 2018?

Have you tried to make fitness related goals in the past? Were you successful?

If not, don’t worry. You are not alone.

Today, we are going to help you accomplish your fitness goals this year once and for all.

This Post Covers:

  • Why It’s Difficult to Stay Focused on Achieving Your Goals
  •  Simple Strategies to Help You Accomplish Your Fitness Goals
  • Examples of Realistic Fitness Goals Anyone Can Achieve

Alright, let’s get started.

5 Tips To Accomplish Your Fitness Goals This Year

Can I let you in on a little secret?

You already possess all of the tools you need to accomplish your fitness goals.

Many of us have experienced success in some aspect of our lives. As a resident physician, you have already accomplished a great deal.  All you have to do is apply the same principles you used in your career to advance your physical capabilities.

Now, there are 5 things you need to do to ensure that you accomplish your fitness goals.

1. Your Goal Should Be Small
2. Your Goal Should Be Simple
3. Your Goal Should Be Super Specific
4. Your Goal Must Be Meaningful
5. Your Goal Must Be Realistic

We will dive into each one of these 5 pre-requisites in greater detail.

The Sad Reality of Fitness Goals

Wanting to “improve fitness“ is by far one of the most common New Years resolutions of all time.

Unfortunately, only a small portion of people are able to execute on those goals. According to some studies, 80% of people will have given up on their New Years resolutions by mid-February.


Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are a few ways that you could jump start your New Years the right way, and start improving your health and fitness for 2018 and beyond.

And the best part is, you don’t have to wait until January 1st. You can start today. Right now. It doesn’t matter if you are reading this on a random day in August.

Let today be the day when you become a new version of yourself!

Why It’s Difficult To Stay Focused On Achieving Your Goals

There must be something wrong with our approach to New Years Resolutions if 80% of us fail within 6 weeks.

After analyzing the most common fitness related goals, we noticed a pattern of common mistakes people make when setting their resolutions.

Here are the top three reasons why Fitness Goals Fail.

1. You Try To Do Too Much

It’s great to dream big. But having the big picture in mind is only half the battle.

You need to understand that big goals require a series of small steps that you must conquer first.

For example, if you haven’t taken high school math, then you probably shouldn’t enroll in a college level physics course. It’s the same with exercise. It is important to begin exercising at a pace that is appropriate for your fitness level.

  • Do not go to the gym and spend an hour and a half lifting weights if you don’t regularly lift
  • Do not go to the gym and run on the treadmill for an hour if you only walk 1000 steps a day
  • Do not go to an intense spin class for 45 minutes if the last time you did aerobics was 2 years ago
  • Do not drop your caloric intake by 1000 calories on January 2nd

If you aren’t used to doing any of these things, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Anything that is a drastic change from what you are used to will not be sustainable. Period. It is simply too stressful for both your body and your mind.

So What Should You Do Instead?

You need to set one or more small goals that will take you in the direction that you want to go. A small goal that you can incorporate into your daily routine that won’t be a huge burden on your difficult schedule.

A small goal helps set the stage for larger things to come. Each small goal should collectively add up to one large goal by the end of the year.

When you make small goals, you set yourself up to win multiple times throughout the year.

There are many “small goals” that you can make such as:

– Go to the gym 3 times a week no matter what, or

– Increase your daily walking by 2000 more steps a day, or

– Lose 1 inch off your waist, or

– Be able to do 1  pull-up with a full range of motion

When I first bench pressed 300 lbs, I got there by making small changes year in year out. When I hit 250 lbs, my next goal wasn’t 275. My goal was to bench press 255. Then 260 lbs and so on then 260 and so on.

Having a long-term goal is very important, but it’s the little goals in between that will help get you there.

This leads us to the second biggest mistake…

2. You Make Unrealistic Expectations

Nothing that is worth having comes easy. It requires time and effort.

You didn’t expect to graduate from college in 1 year, did you? You didn’t expect to have a full retirement portfolio after 6 months of working, did you?

Why is improving your health and fitness any different?

If you want to lose weight, or get stronger, or be able to keep up with your kids, it won’t happen in 12 weeks, or in 90 days. It is important to face the task with the right mindset.

Health and fitness is a lifelong journey, not a finite challenge.

Don’t get me wrong, you can certainly experience massive improvements in the way you look and feel in a 3 month time frame, but consider the big picture.

Fitness is not a destination, it is a process.

Focus on the long term. Decide that 2018 is the year where you will no longer be who you were before- not for the next 90 days, not for the summer, not for your wedding, but for the rest of your life!

This leads us to the third mistake …


3. Your Goals Are Poorly Defined

It is important to understand the difference between setting a goal and setting a target. A target is the end product. The goal is what you will do to get to the end product.

Most people mistake the goal with a target. Here’s an example.

“I want to lose weight because I’m fat.”

This is not a goal. This is a target. A very poorly defined target at that. So how can we improve this?

The first thing you need to do is make your target specific. The more specific your target is, the stronger your desire to achieve becomes. The stronger your desire to achieve the target, the more likely you will accomplish it.

A better target is, “I want to lose 10 lbs of fat by my next doctor’s appointment in April because I need to improve my blood pressure and I don’t want to be out of breath all the time.”

Okay, now that you have a specific target, it’s time to develop the actual goal.

The goal represents the measures you are going to take to achieve your target. The target is where you must focus all of your efforts.

The goal for the above target might be:

  1. I will walk 7000 steps every single day no matter what
  2. I will strength train two times a week, no matter what.
  3. I will not consume another can of beer until April
  4. I will consume a vegetarian meal once a week.

As you can see, you have full control over the goals. 

This is in contrast to your target. No matter what, you do not have control over accomplishing your target exactly as you define it.  But even if you fall short of your target, you can still be a success because you have accomplished your goals.

You can feel safe in knowing that you put in the necessary work to get as close to your target as possible. You also get the added bonus of establishing the habit of doing things to make yourself better.

When Brittany sets her targets, she makes them realistic and well defined. In January, her target was to squat 225 lbs and deadlift 300 lbs- she gave herself until the end of the year. Her goal was to squat and deadlift two times a week with the intention of increasing the weight each week. Needless to say, she accomplished her target way ahead of schedule!

Strategies To Help You Accomplish Your New Years Resolutions

So now let’s get back to the 5 Strategies to accomplish your fitness goals.

Your fitness goals should be


Take one step at a time. Improving your fitness requires a series of small victories that compound over time. Try and lose 1-2 lbs at a time. Try and lift 5 more lbs each week. Try and get one more rep. At the end of the year, every small goal you accomplish adds up tremendously.


Don’t overcomplicate the process. You are a busy professional. Your goals need to be simple enough that they don’t cause a large burden on your schedule.


Be as detailed as you possibly can when setting your fitness goal. Don’t forget to differentiate your target from your goals-tasks that you will have full control over, no matter what.  If your goal is vague, your results will be vague.


The goal has to have a strong sentimental value to you. If you don’t know why you want the goal, then it isn’t worthwhile. The more you can justify why you want the goal, the more likely you will be at accomplishing it.


Set your goals high, but make them achievable. Don’t expect to lose 50 lbs and have a six pack in 90 days. Start by losing 1-2 lbs per week. Anything more than this tends to be unrealistic and very difficult to sustain. Remember, it is important to set small victories to keep building momentum.

List of Fitness Goals for Beginners

Here’s a sample list of fitness goals you can include into your daily life.

  • Increase your step count by 500 steps every week
  • Do 10 push-ups every single morning and increase it by 1 rep every week
  • Once you get to 25 push-ups, perform an increasingly difficult variation
  • Take The Stairs Up 1-2 Flights Every Single Day
  • Go to the gym and Squat at least once per week no matter what

As you can see, these are small, simple fitness goals that anyone can integrate into their lives. 

Or you can take all the thinking out of it. Simply do the WCT Strength Training Program For Busy Professionals, which is a 35-minute exercise program that is designed to improve your fitness fast.

These templates include every single functional exercise you need to improve your overall muscle mass and athleticism while including a simple progressive overload layout.

The Bottom Line On Accomplishing Your Fitness Goals

Do your 2018 fitness goals satisfy all of the above criteria? If not, you now have a checklist to follow in order to improve your health and fitness.

Start small, find something scalable, and integrate what you can into your lifestyle. Don’t forget exercise doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Something is always better than nothing in the realm of fitness.

Let us help you achieve your fitness goals this year!

Now we turn it over to you.

– What are your fitness goals this year?
– Anything that you have been wanting to do for several years?
– Have you made the mistake of mixing up goals and targets?
– How many New Years Resolutions have you accomplished before?

Post your comments and questions below.


Don’t forget to share this article if you found it useful, and subscribe to get a copy of our workout template.

Get exclusive strategies on how to diet & exercise (with an 80-hour workweek) that we only share with email subscribers!


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Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex Robles, MD, CPT / Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Alex & Brittany Robles are physicians, NASM CPTs, health & fitness experts, and founders of The White Coat Trainer: a site dedicated to improving the health and fitness of busy professionals. Their advice has been featured on KevinMD, The Doctor Weighs In, My Fitness Pal, Reader's Digest, Livestrong, and The Active Times. Learn more about them here.

Learn More About Them Here

10 thoughts on “How To Accomplish Your Fitness Goals This Year Once & For All”

  1. Thanks for your blog. I’ve been following for two months and have already had some dramatic changes in my health. Keep up the great work!

    1. The White Coat Trainer

      Hey Christian,Your’e very welcome. I am really happy to hear that you are seeing positive changes. These kind of comments make the blog worth it!

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