New Year's Resolution Leads to Failure

With the New Year upon us, it’s the time of resolutions. I’m going to lose 15lbs this year. I’m going to set a new deadlift PR. I’m going to meet my life partner and end my #foreveralone streak.

The resolutions are everywhere. And they drive me crazy.

Why? Because these people will fail.

The cue to change for these people was the New Year, not their burning desire to change.

The New Year hype will be over soon, and then what will motivate these people?

You cannot rely on external motivators for very long.

What is Your Burning Desire?

For change to last, you need an internal driver. As many of you dedicated souls know, you need to have passion because the journey is hard.

I laugh every time a lady I’m working with says she wants to get strong, but not big and bulky.

Do you think I would still weigh 190lbs if muscle just magically appeared on my body with a little weight training?

Putting on muscle and shedding fat takes extreme focus and dedication to weight training, conditioning, rest, and diet.

We have a quote in one of the bathrooms at IFAST that says:

“Refusing to lift weights because you’re afraid of looking like a bodybuilder is like refusing to drive a car because you fear becoming a Nascar driver.”

Photo Credit:  Allen Tucker (
Photo Credit: Allen Tucker (

I do not have the intrinsic motivation to weigh 240lbs at 8% body fat and set deadlift PRs every month. It would require a lot of time and energy to accomplish these goals.

I prefer to spend my time and energy on other goals. I focus on learning new things instead of preparing my next meal. I want to be able to play ice hockey for years to come. I want to stave off a hip replacement as long as I can. I cannot have these goals and still weigh 240lbs at 8% body fat with a 700-pound deadlift.

Instead, I have reached a level of fitness that I consider adequate and spend the rest of my time doing things I consider more important.

As a result, I’ve gotten much more intelligent over the last couple years. This wasn’t some passing New Year’s resolution, it was (and still is) a major life goal that I have a burning desire to achieve.

What is important to you?

You Can’t Logic Someone into Change

It’s clear that intrinsic motivation is important, but extrinsic motivation is still useful. The Monster Zach Hadge picks up a piss load of weight because he wants to, but also because his training partners want him to. Their hype and praise drives him if his internal desire isn’t present. But what happens when you don’t have external drivers?

Think about the obese people you know. Do you think that any of them are oblivious to the health risks that accompany their lifestyle choices?

Absolutely not. The advice is everywhere to be found.

Tell a smoker to stop smoking because smoking will give you cancer.


“No shit it’ll give you cancer, but if I don’t smoke, how am I supposed to deal with the stress from my job?”

You cannot logic someone into change. They need to have a reason to change.

Once the smoker’s father dies of lung cancer, then there might be an internal driver of change. “I don’t want to leave my kids early like my father did.” Now that is powerful.


I want you to grow, but don’t do it because the New Year seems like a time to make change. Do it because you want to.

Here’s your homework: take a blank piece of paper or index card and draw what you’ll look like once you accomplish your goal.

Now keep that card with you at all times and remember not to let down your Future Self.

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“When I look around at my successful friends… they all have the same characteristic: they’re going to get what they want, or they’re going to die trying.”  -Derek Halpern

about the author


Lance Goyke, CSCS, is a Nerd Extraordinaire and secret admirer of lesbians everywhere whose expertise focuses on the human body. His clientele ranges from other trainers to kids to house moms to fighters to baseballers to anyone who needs to be taught how to exercise. Go invade his home base at