Behaviour Change
10 mins read

Change One Thing

Katy at the gym.
Written by
Katy Harkness
Published on
December 8, 2022

Three ways to keep your health and fitness resolutions

To keep your health and fitness resolutions this year there are 3 things you need to set yourself up for success.

  1. Limit the number of resolutions.  Have a rule of ‘one and done’.
  2. Identify your supporter and cheerleader and let them know you would appreciate their support
  3. Be accountable for your actions and outcomes

The ethos of ‘Change One Thing’ is right

I used to work in advertising and for over 20 years my days were filled with creating strategies to change people’s behaviour for the benefit of brands. Why am I telling you this?  Well, in January 2006 Boots had an advertising campaign and it has stayed with me. I did not work on it, but the insights that sat at the heart of it were brilliant. Hence nearly two decades later I’m citing it.

The ‘Change One Thing’ campaign centred on the data that 90% of the population made New Year’s Resolutions, but half of those people didn’t keep them beyond the first two weeks of January.

Did you know that the second Friday of January each year is known as Quitters Day? That is the day people are most likely to give up on their New Year’s Resolutions.

Now those aren’t the insights that stayed with me – those are the facts – below are the insights and they resonated with me deeply. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if in some part they ring true to you.

1. We set too many unrealistic resolutions.  Instead limit the number of resolutions and have a rule of ‘one and done’.

We try to do too much. ‘I’m going to do dry January, go on a diet, go to the gym 3 times a week, cook from scratch and call my Grandma every Sunday.’ Yep… good luck with that.

If I had a bucket filled with 3, 4, 5+ balls of varying sizes and chucked the contents at you, how many balls do you think you would catch?  One?  Probably the biggest ball. Maybe two if you were a juggling ninja?  Most likely you would catch none.  You would be overwhelmed by the balls flying at you, wouldn’t know where to focus and would catch nothing.

If I took one ball and threw it at you, I’d put money on you catching it. You’d have one thing to focus on. What have balls got to do with resolutions? Well, one realistic change to focus on (or ball to catch) results in a greater likelihood of achieving it.

So, first things first. Limit the number of resolutions. Have a rule of ‘one and done’. And make it realistic – the bigger the ball, the easier it is to catch.

One year my resolution was to squeegee the shower cubicle every time I had a shower. That was it.  But you know what – I bloody did it.  Every day.

2. We lack motivational support. So ensure you have someone in your corner supporting you.

We don’t have people in our corner. Either, we have kept quiet about the resolution because deep down we think we are going to fail anyway so what is the point in telling anyone (and we feel that because we have taken on too much). Or we do tell people and they don’t expect us to do it.

And do you know what they do?  They tell us that.  To our faces. They try and trip us up… ‘Go on, it is just one drink’, ‘Why are you being boring?’, ‘You’ll never do it’.  

Now there are hidden, deeper set reasons for all this that you can read in more detail via the link to the Forbes article below. But in short, we all need a supporter and cheerleader.  So, identify yours and let them know you would appreciate their support.  Only an absolute twonk would then try to de-rail you.

3. We have no accountability structure in place.  Instead ensure you have your roadmap to your goals set out and take ownership of it.

We haven’t got a map of how to get there and to sustain our behaviour.  ‘Forever’ is an incomprehensible amount of time.  And once the initial excitement, buzz and motivation of a challenge disappears, consistency is hard. We need accountability to help get us towards consistent behaviour. And sorry to burst any bubbles but accountability starts with us.  

Ultimately no one else can be accountable.  You must be.  

That means recognising and owning when you have ‘sabotaged’ your own efforts.  But also appreciating that one incidence of ‘sabotage’ doesn’t mean you should chuck everything in.  Use it as a learning experience and move forwards towards the goal you set (that goal being something achievable).


These powerful insights sit at the heart of how I work with clients.  And it is how a great personal trainer and coach will work with you.

A great personal trainer and coach will help you set realistic goals based on what is important to you.  They’ll prioritise them with you so that you do not take too much on – they’ll keep it real and achievable for you. That is a massive cog in the motivation machine.

A great personal trainer should be your biggest supporter and cheerleader.  They should recognise those moments when it is feeling harder and will treat you as the individual you are to help get your focus back.  They won’t let you beat yourself up when that focus goes – because there are moments when it will.  That is life.  It is natural.

And a great personal trainer will hold you accountable for achieving your goals.  They’ll give you choices to make but crucially they will help you see that you are ultimately accountable for the results.

That is how I work with clients anyway.

So, if you want to ‘Change One Thing’ – be that fat loss, improving your cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular health, getting stronger, toning up, building muscle, improving your mobility or something else - and by doing that change everything, then get in touch here.

I’d love to talk to you about how we can make those dreams a reality.

Other helpful stuff

About Katy Harkness

Katy founded PLAY Fitness & Coaching after she made changes in her life, which saw her lose over 20kg and become the fittest she has ever been.

As Katy became more interested in health and fitness, the algorithms shared more and more misinformation.

Becoming frustrated with unrealistic goals and standards being set, that are often not healthy, Katy left the advertising industry where she had a successful 20+ year career, to help create the change she wanted to see in the health and fitness industry and to support people to make the sustainable, long term changes they wanted to see in their own lives.

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