How to make your New Year’s resolution stick with Apple Fitness+

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Make 2022 the year you achieve your fitness goals
Make 2022 the year you achieve your fitness goals.
Photo: Graham Bower/Cult of Mac

If your New Year’s resolution is to get in shape in 2022, Apple Fitness+ provides the perfect solution. Tightly integrated with Apple Watch, it offers hundreds of excellent video workouts you can do at home right now. But the question is, will you?

As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. Subscribing to Fitness+ is all very well, but it’ll be a waste of money if you lose interest after a week.

Unfortunately, sticking to a New Year’s resolution isn’t easy. That’s probably why almost 50% of them fail in the first year.

If you want to smash your fitness goals in 2022, you need to start by getting your head in the right place. And that’s where well-formed outcomes can help. They are goals that meet certain essential criteria identified by psychologists in the 1980s using a technique called neuro-linguistic programming, or NLP.

Well-formed outcomes provide a framework that can massively increase your chances of achieving your goal. And all you need to do to turn your resolution into a well-formed outcome is ask yourself these six questions.

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Well-formed outcomes and Apple Fitness+

To set realistic goals and achieve them, start by answering these six essential questions. The answers will help you smash your Apple Fitness+ New Year’s resolution.

1. Is your New Year’s resolution positive?

It’s surprising how many people set themselves negative goals. Two of the most common are to lose weight or stop smoking.

These goals are negative because they focus on the current “problem state” (smoking or being overweight), whereas a positive goal identifies the “desired state” you want to achieve.

Setting a positive goal is known as “outcome thinking” — and it’s key to success in many situations. Imagine trying to plot a route on Apple Maps without knowing your destination. You won’t get very far.

So, instead of losing weight, a desired state would be something like:

  • feeling confident about how I look
  • living a healthy lifestyle
  • fitting into a wedding dress

Instead of quitting smoking, you might choose a goal like:

Finishing a 30-minute HIIT workout with Bakari is a serious challenge for anyone.
Finishing a 30-minute HIIT workout with Bakari is a serious challenge for anyone.
Photo: Apple

2. Is your New Year’s resolution within your control?

There’s only one thing you can change in this world, and that’s yourself. Maybe you can influence other people a little, but only by changing your own behavior first.

So, when you choose your New Year’s resolution, make sure it’s something you can self-maintain, meaning you can achieve it all by yourself, without expecting anyone else to change.

For example: If you set your goal to do a 10-minute Fitness+ workout every day, that’s great, because it’s entirely within your control. But if you challenge a friend to beat you, or try to beat the Fitness+ Burn Bar, the outcome is outside of your control, because it depends on what other people do. (In the case of the Fitness+ Burn Bar, it’s based on the effort of other users doing the same workout as you.)

So, for your New Year’s resolution, pick a goal that is entirely within your control, like beating your personal best.

3. How will you know when you’ve achieved your New Year’s resolution?

When you go on a journey, how can you tell when you’ve arrived? Usually, you recognize what your destination looks like. And it’s exactly the same with New Year’s resolutions.

You need a very clear idea of what it will be like when you achieve your goal. What will you see, hear, touch and even smell? Take a moment to visualize that now. Allow yourself to daydream.

Use the Notes app on your iPhone to write down what it will be like to achieve your goal, in the present tense, using all your senses. Pin it, so you can refer back to it whenever you need a reminder.

For example: I see the finish line as I cross it. I hear the crowd cheering. My family members are all smiling, waiting to congratulate me. As I hug them, I feel this incredible sense of support and achievement. I glance down and see the Cancer Research UK logo on my shirt, and I feel proud.

4. What’s the higher purpose of your New Year’s resolution?

It might sound a bit lofty to say your New Year’s resolution should serve a higher purpose, but it should! I’m not saying you have to solve world peace or global warming. Just that your goal should have some meaning to you.

So, take some time to consider what you care about. Maybe there’s a charity that’s close to your heart. In my case it’s Cancer Research UK, the organization that developed drugs that once saved my life. I’ve run several marathons for the org and raised a lot of money. A sponsored event like that is a great way to give your resolution a higher purpose.

Your purpose could be closer to home, though. Maybe your fitness goal is to be more active with your kids, for example.

If you’re looking for more inspiration, try incorporating some meditation sessions on the Fitness+ app, or audio meditations from the Mindfulness app on Apple Watch. You also could check out Apple’s Time to Walk series, which provides inspiring stories from celebrities.

Fitness+ meditation sessions will help give your workouts a higher purpose.
Fitness+ meditation sessions will help give your workouts a higher purpose.
Photo: Apple

5. Is your New Year’s resolution a win-win?

Are there people in your life who will be affected by your New Year’s resolution in some way? Family, colleagues, friends or other people who depend on you?

In planning your New Year’s resolution, it’s a great idea to consider up front all the commitments you have, and how the people you care about will be affected by the changes you will be making to achieve your goal.

By involving them in your planning process, and considering their needs and feelings, you can turn your goal into a win-win, where everyone around you is just as invested in your success as you are. They will become a powerful support network that will see you through to the end.

6. Are you prepared to pay the price?

Does your goal satisfy the payoff from abandoning your current status quo?

The fact is, you might not realize just how much you’re getting out of your current situation. Smokers, for example, enjoy smoke breaks together and often forge lifelong friendships as a result. Are you willing to no longer be a part of Team Smoker?

Right now, your body type might be similar to that of all your friends and family. Are you prepared to feel different from them when you lose weight?

People who don’t do regular exercise have more free time to do other things, too. A hobby, maybe? Are you prepared to give that up?

It might seem strange to end this motivating piece by exploring all the reasons you might not want to succeed. But it’s much better to consider these factors carefully now, rather than kidding yourself and being disappointed later.

Achieving your New Year’s resolution is going to cost you. Ask yourself if you honestly think it’s worth it. If not, consider how you might modify your goal to bring down the cost to something you are willing to pay.

For example, if you’re not prepared to do loads of long, grueling training sessions, maybe a marathon is not for you. If you have a sweet tooth, maybe you should try a diet where you don’t have to cut out deserts altogether. It’s better to achieve a modest goal than fail to achieve a more ambitious one.

Now you’re ready to smash your 2022 resolutions!

If you’re answered these six questions, you’ve already done the hard part. Thanks to the excellent trainers on Apple Fitness+, the workouts themselves are actually fun to do.

An Apple Fitness+ subscription costs just $9.99 a month — far less than a gym membership and many competing services. Plus, if you’ve got a new Apple Watch, you can take advantage of a free three-month trial. Apple also bundles Fitness+ in the $29.99-per-month Premier tier of the Apple One subscription bundle.

So what are you waiting for? Why not get started and log your first workout right now?

For further reading on well-formed outcomes and lots more, check out Sue Knight’s book, NLP at Work, (also available as an audiobook.)