New Year, New You: Has Your Fitness Resolution Stuck?

42% of New Year's Resolutions fail within one month. 91% fail by the end of the year (Statistics Brain). 

How can you secure your spot in the 9% of people who make it happen? Whatever your fitness goal, the framework in this article could help.


A commonly held belief is that human behaviour is the result of rational decision making. Look a little closer at the science of behaviour and we reveal the powerful role our emotions play in our decision making process. 

Chip and Dan Heath, in their book ‘Switch – How to Change Things When Change Is Hard’, outline a basic three-part framework that can guide you in any situation where you need to change behaviour. They speak of a "Situation/Path, Elephant and Rider".



For more books to help you cultivate a mindset fit to achieve your goal, have a read of...

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Perched atop the Elephant, the Rider holds the reins and seems to be the leader, but the Rider’s control is precarious because the Rider is so small relative to the Elephant.

To achieve the change you want, they say you need to:


Shape the Path



Your Path is the environment in which you aim to make change. When you Shape the Path, you make change more likely, no matter what. You will alter your environment to make success easier and ensure your finite amount of will-power is not exhausted.


  • Tweak the Environment - When the situation changes, the behaviour changes. So change the situation
  • Build Habits - When behaviour is habitual, it’s “free”. Look for ways to encourage habits


Motivate the Elephant


Your Elephant is the emotional side of your brain. Sometimes it may wish to go somewhere other than directly to your goal. The Rider can’t get his own way by force for long. So you must engage your emotional side. You’ll feel what it is to be healthy and reinforce how fantastic living a healthy life can be. You will feel why you started on this path.


  • Shrink the Change - Break down the change until it no longer spooks the elephant
  • Find the Feeling - Knowing something isn’t enough. Feel it


Direct the Rider



Your Rider is the rational part of your brain. What looks like resistance is often a lack of clarity. So provide crystal-clear direction. You’ll get clarity on which habits to build and in what order.



  • Follow the Bright Spots - Investigate what is working well and clone it
  • Script the Critical Moves - Don’t think big picture. Think critical moves
  • Point to the Destination - Know where you are going and why

People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions
— Statistics Brain

What will you do now?

How could you Shape Your Path, motivate your Elephant and Direct Your Rider to get you towards your goal?


If you would like to talk about anything you've learnt while reading these books, want to share your opinion or success, then get in touch. We'd love to hear from you