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How To Push Through 'Ditch Day,' When Most People Quit Their New Year's Resolutions
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How To Push Through 'Ditch Day,' When Most People Quit Their New Year's Resolutions

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 17 January 2017
January 17th is known in the fitness industry as “ditch day” — the date by which the majority of people have let their new year’s resolutions slide. If you’ve hit a wall and find yourself struggling to solidify healthier habits, these emergency tactics might just keep you on track.

Team up with a friend

One of the biggest determinants of success in general is having a proper support system. The same holds true for making health upgrades with longevity. A 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise reported that lifestyle habits are infectious, and surrounding yourself with people who workout increases the likelihood that you’ll exercise regularly, too.

Trying to keep up with your fittest friend might make you feel inadequate, and comparing yourself unfavorably is the last thing you need right now. Find a buddy who shares your goals and is at a similar same stage in their own journey.

Make workout dates, share recipes, and keep holding each other accountable. It’s much harder to quit when somebody else is counting on you.

Share your goals and gains

Although the thought of posting progress pics and fitness analytics on your social media accounts can be cringe-inducing, there’s evidence to suggest other people “liking” your efforts will keep you motivated. Every time you post about fitness and diet goals you reaffirm them to yourself, and when people comment with words of encouragement your resolve is strengthened even further.

Just try to avoid sounding obnoxious or supercilious when talking about your new healthy lifestyle. Nobody likes a bragger.

Treat yourself to new activewear

A small and, yes, superficial trick, but it works. Buying workout clothing you look and feel good in can be the incentive needed on days when you’re just not in the mood to workout.

Throw away your thread-bare leggings and invest in stylish activewear (like this Ultracor leggings and bra set with metallic stars) and box-fresh sneakers so cool you’ll be dying to show them off. Suddenly you’ve tricked yourself into signing up for a package of fitness classes. Ta-da!

Mind over matter

Self-talk is the most important thing you can master, but it’s also the toughest.

Firstly acknowledge that you’re having a molasses phase, where moving forward feels like more effort than you’re capable of. That’s ok, because this phase will pass.

Instead of focusing on one overarching result think of progress as incremental steps. Your only goal today might be attending a fitness class. You can do that easily; it’s just 45 minutes out of your life.

Give it 4 more days

There are three phases involved in habit formation: 1) The excited and inspired phase, when you’re full of hope and believe you can meet your goals, 2) The resistance phase, when you get bored or tired and feel like giving up on said goals, 3) The second nature phase, when your efforts solidify into habits and become effortless.

Supposedly this process takes at least 21 days, which means transitioning your lifestyle improvements into permanency is within your grasp. Hang in there. Fight through. You’re as capable as anybody.