According to recent statistics, nearly half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only 8% are able to keep them. So what gives? Researchers have long explored the nature of motivation—and how best to achieve and maintain goals. Some studies have found that writing intentions down and sharing them with friends (read: accountability) can pave the way to success, and other research suggests that setting challenging intentions is the key to desired change.
The bottom line is it comes down to what works for you as an individual, along with the good news that yes, your resolutions and goals—dreams!—are possible to reach. Here’s how six Fitbit staffers set New Year’s intentions that not only stuck, but changed their lives for the better.
Intention: Get More Sleep
“I was super stressed—juggling a crazy work schedule and a bike-racing training plan. I also signed up for the Empire State Building Run-Up to get into shape. After a few months I realized it wasn’t going to happen—my energy stores were sapped.
I decided to focus on resting. I stopped training, and exercised only when I felt up to it. Quitting my job and moving to California was the next step. My body requires a lot of sleep, so I let myself get 9 to 12 hours a night. It was life transforming. I felt more upbeat, less stressed, and for the first time in my adult life, my eyes weren’t bloodshot. Once I realized the difference a full night’s sleep could make, it was very easy to prioritize it.
I no longer have the luxury of sleeping in, so I use my Fitbit tracker to keep a consistent sleep schedule—one that lets me get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night. I have it set to vibrate when it’s time for me to sleep, and gently buzz when it’s time to wake up.”
—Danielle Kosecki, Fitbit News Editor
Intention: Drink More Water
“Since having kids, one of the biggest areas of my life that’s been affected (other than never getting enough sleep!) is how much water I drink. I live my life at a million miles an hour, taking multitasking to a new level. With all the activity, I started to notice how dehydrated I was becoming whenever I exercised—my body felt fine, but my mind felt foggy and weak. I noticed it in my skin, too. So I set the intention to start taking the same advice I’d dished out to my clients over the years working in private practice: Prioritize drinking water early in the day! I know if I drink a glass of water while I’m waiting for my morning coffee to brew, I start my day thinking about water. I also make sure to fill up my water bottle as soon as I get to work, before I turn on my computer. Just doing these two simple acts every morning helps me drink my daily quota and stay mentally alert.”
—Tracy Morris, Fitbit In-House Nutrition Expert
Intention: Have More Family Time
“I’m passionate about my work, and it can be tough for me to disconnect from it in the evenings. But I wanted to make a bigger effort to be fully present during family time, so in January 2016, I resolved to put my computer and cell phone away between daycare pickup and my toddler son’s bedtime. Having dinner with my family, splashing in the tub, and snuggling up with books before ‘sleepy time’ is now sacred. Sure, there are nights when it’s impossible to avoid a late email or call, but I’ve learned to be very protective of this time, and physical separation helps: Stick those devices in a drawer or closet! This is one resolution my husband and I intend to keep in 2017.”
—Kimberly Daly, Fitbit Managing Editor
Intention: Exercise (and Get Outside) Daily
“As a former professional athlete, I never realized I needed to move daily—and ideally get outside—until my life changed. I went from skiing around the world to sitting in a cubicle at a magazine in New York. Everything started to hurt. I also noticed I’d get cranky, and sometimes, feel physically sick.
I tried to fit exercise back into my life, and even worked as a personal trainer, but when I moved to the Bay Area, a tight schedule began to sideline my efforts. I decided to ensure I exercised at least 30 minutes every day (the same way I’d make sure to floss), even if sometimes that simply meant a daily walk, to get some sort of outside fix. Since owning a Fitbit tracker, it’s been easier to make that happen. I walk whenever possible, and easily score my 10,000 daily steps. I also signed up for a yoga teacher training—which is something I’d always wanted to do. I had to squeeze in about 15 hours of yoga each week, and wouldn’t get home until after 11 p.m. some nights. It was worth it, though, and the reward of feeling good has kept me going. Whenever I think I’m too tired for a yoga class or run, I think of how I’ll feel afterward—and that’s just so, so good.”
–Lara Rosenbaum, Fitbit Fitness Editor
Intention: Beat Back Pain
“My New Year’s resolution was to take care of my back. I have a family history of lower back issues, and I was sitting for 10 to 12 hours a day. Back pain was already waking me at night, and falling off a horse made it so much worse. That was a few weeks before my 30th birthday—the same age my father was when he slipped his first disc. I decided to put myself on a three-step plan: First, I swapped my old futon for a quality bed frame and memory foam mattress. I then started seeing a chiropractor regularly, and foam-rolled my muscles daily for three weeks. I still roll out my muscles as needed, to maintain.
The surprise fourth step wasn’t a conscious resolution, but my lifestyle changed even more: I started working at Fitbit—and wearing my first tracker! My new schedule allowed me to leave my desk at 5 to go to spin class, as well as spend more time cooking (recipe testing!) and running around the kitchen. The more steps I get, the better my back feels. It was so easy to make all of this a habit, because I feel so much better. I no longer live in fear of having back surgery, and can peacefully sleep every night.”
–Becky Duffett, Fitbit Nutrition Editor
Intention: Lose Weight & Get Back Into Running
“I’d been a competitive runner for years—through the Division 1 level in college. But my healthy habits fell apart due to demanding jobs and long commutes. I gained weight as I watched former running friends post great results on Facebook.
I decided to devote 2016 to getting back into running. I first made easy changes to my diet, swapping out my lunch burrito for soup, and my bacon breakfast sandwiches for yogurt and granola. I’d make one healthy change at a time, and once it became a habit, would take on another. And then I made myself run. I won’t lie: It was super hard. I started with small goals, first, and worked with my schedule. Since I was exhausted after work, I’d sometimes make running my morning “commute.” Once I was consistently running five times per week (this was the hardest part!), I focused on running better, faster, and farther.
I stuck with it, and over six months, I lost 30 lbs and watched my resting heart rate drop from 72 to 49! Every month felt better than the last. I started racing again, and shaved a full hour off my marathon time! I most recently ran the 2016 Antarctica Ice Marathon, and finished 7th overall and 1st from the USA! Now I’m feeling great and am ready to take on more in 2017!”
–Graham Keggi, Fitbit Activity & Exercise Product Manager