Happy New Year! You’re not setting resolutions… are you?

Every January, I get more excited than when brand spankin’ new running shoes get delivered. Yes, I’m a New Year’s nerd.

New Year

But you might be surprised that I don’t set resolutions. The way most people do them is ridiculously ineffective.

Resolving to be better at something (“I’m going to finally get in shape this year!“) with no system, support network, or plan of attack is just an empty promise. It’s hollow. Meaningless.

Instead, I much prefer short bursts of effort focused on process. Here are a few examples:

  • a 4-month marathon cycle with a training plan
  • an 8-week lifting program for better strength
  • 30 days of whole, real foods (no sugar)

The power of this type of thinking is twofold:

First, each goal has a time limitation. It won’t last forever so I only have to maintain my limited willpower for a specified amount of time.

Second, I’m not even focused on the end result! Instead of saying my goals are to run a PR marathon, be able to squat 200 pounds, or lose extra weight I’m focused on the PROCESS of achieving those goals.

It’s the system that will yield the result, not me shallowly saying I’m just going to try real hard to do this thing.

If I relied on willpower alone, I’d never accomplish anything. Right now, I’d be watching reruns of House with a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream. Left to my own devices, things get ugly (just ask my wife).

That’s why runners with a coach tend to perform better than those who don’t – they have a system in place. As Scott Adams, the creator of the Dilbert comic, once said:

“Losers have goals and winners have systems.”

And a good system won’t fail because it’s been proven. It works – or else it wouldn’t be implemented in the first place.

Soon, I’ll be unveiling an all-new system that can help you propel your running goals. But first, let’s talk about what’s coming this year.

The Year of…

Every year, I set a theme that guides the direction of Strength Running.

2011 was the Year of the PR.

2012 was the Year of Stretch Goals.

2013 was the Year of Consistency.

2014 was the Year of Injury Free Running.

What will 2015 be?

I’ll be announcing that on Monday. For now, I want you to rethink New Year’s Resolutions.

Understand that a lofty goal without a system is bound to fail. It’s that support system that enables success.

How can you reframe your resolutions so you’ll consistently meet your goals, know exactly what to do when obstacles arise (and they WILL come), and have a system in place to ensure your success?

Get ready because 2015 is going to be our best year yet. Starting Monday, we’re kicking things off with a bang.

Make sure you sign up for my email list – I’m releasing email-only material later this month that you’re going to love.

Right now, I want to hear from you. In the comments below, answer this question: What is your New Year’s resolution and what system do you have in place to help you succeed?

Was this post helpful?

Then you'll love the free email lessons I've never released here on the blog. Enter your email and you'll get:

  • The exact strength exercises that prevent injuries
  • Workouts that boost your speed (even for beginners)
  • Pacing strategies, coaching Q&A, and more


  1. I want to get to the start line of my next marathon healthy and prepared to run! I am looking for a plan or coaching option as we speak to help with warm up, ancillary work, cool down items and the like. 2014 was as ba as it gets for me and I will make 2015 better.

  2. Mark Povich says:

    With a new job to begin 2015 and being more of my own boss I am hoping a.more flexible schedule will allow me more personal time to build upon the base I have and add more strength training and stretching to my regimen.

  3. Dave Wayne says:

    I’ve been suffering from ‘runner’s knee’ for several months. The pain is bearable but the inflammation won’t subside. I’ve continued to work out with weights & the elliptical – physical therapy has helped but it’s not the panacea I was hoping for. I’m going to pursue acupuncture and other alternatives and slowly ease back into running…

  4. My overall goal is to be able to run injury free in 2015, but my more specific goal is to get my 5K PR under 20 minutes (currently it’s 20:29). I think consistent strength training and really listening to my body’s warning signals are keys to being successful with my goals.

  5. Beth Monnin says:

    I want to PR a marathon by increasing mileage, improving nutrition and figuring out why I have never met my 4 hour goal. I am also going to grow in my yoga practice, train hard & rest well.

  6. I totally agree! I made a lot of good progress this past year, and in order to keep the momentum going I’m joining two programs offered by my local Fleet Feet store: one for 5K training, and the other a weight loss challenge. I’m in week 4 of C25K on my own now, but looking for some real coaching and guidance so that I can develop a really good form and running practice.

  7. My goal is to stay healthy and injury free, along with that I would love to qualify for Boston.

  8. I’ve been running on and off for a year and a half now (previously I’d never done any sports or exercise), and I haven’t been fully ready for any of my races in that time. My goal is to be prepared for the 10K I have in April, and beat my 10K time from last year.

  9. Run my first 1/2 marathon. I plan to faithfully follow my IT band rehab and strrnghthen my core. I will slso follow a 1/2 marathon training regimen. Not sure what one yet. I am thinking about possibly contacting you.

  10. My goal is to stay healthy and injury free. I was a new runner in 2013 and after only 4 months of too much to soon I hurt my It band. Then I had a concussion after a bike fall which kept me away from running until Sept 2014. So now my goal is to build my endurance base, listen to my body, always warm up and cool down ( I didn’t before ) – and run the Gate River Run in March stronger than ever !!!!

  11. My goal for 2015 is to complete marathon training (using Jason’s PR plan) injury free and then to run my first marathon. I tried last year but developed ITB problems. I still have ITB pain which I i just can’t seem to shake off but at least it is not getting worse. My second goal is thus to beat the band!

  12. Andrew Gilbertson says:

    My main goal for 2015 is to run a sub 4 hr marathon. Target race is Milton Keynes May 5.
    Another is to maintain my weight below 75 Kg.

  13. This year for the next month I will be incorporating strength training into my running routine. To help me acheive this goal I have hired a running coach who has provided me with a strength routine to follow as well as checking in with me once a week.

  14. 2015 Is going to be a great year! I first want to work on loosing the ?? pounds I gained over the holidays. I need a system to control my sugar eating habbits. My training plan is set through March 30th will complete a full and 3 half’s. I can stay with my training, it’s the eating that gets me in a bummed out mode. Any ideas send them my way. Thank you

  15. Consistency…. I am severely lacking in that department right now!

  16. Ben McKinley says:

    Hi Jason,
    Thanks for your awesome blog and tips! This year I’m going to do a triathlon! On Dec 18 2014 I broke my hip (femoral neck fracture) so at the moment I am on crutches, so there is a lot of physic, strength work and recovery to go, but I reckon I can get there by the end of the year!

  17. I lost a lot of motivation and drive last year and replaced it with about 15 extra pounds. My goal is to get back to a healthy weight with clean eating and commit 100% to my marathon training.

  18. My goals for 2015 are to rehab chronic hamstring injury stemming from back problem, qualify for Boston again (thank you, Jason, for my first successful BQ training plan) – and have more FUN! To get there, my plan is low mileage, increasing speed and stregnth until May, then JF marathon training plan begins. Sept BQ race. Thanks to JF! Happy New Year!

  19. My goal is to read more! Actually my fitness goal is to find a way to stay injury free this year as well…. Once I get past this terrible heel pain. Thanks for the post!

  20. My goals for 2015 are to build upon good habits established in 2014 (good training, mostly good nutrition, sleep, reduced stress) by adding a bit of strength and cross training, sitting less at work, and further improving my nutrition. I’m hoping the outcome of sticking to these goals is a 5k PR and a sub-4:00 marathon, but I’m trying to stay process-focused.

  21. funny timing, I was just starting to type some resolutions this morning when halfway through I realized I didn’t need them. I was already on track with my training, race & recovery schedule, have blocks roughly sketched out & know what else I need to keep chipping away at. I am going to a New Years “Resolutions” party with run buddies next week totally empty handed. 🙂

    I didn’t meet all my written goals last year, but instead met many that “should” have been goals…like having true health versus fitness….I’m never sick anymore 🙂

  22. I really hate the idea of a New Years resolution because if your life needs improving, why wait for a specific day to do it? That being said, there is something about a new year that makes you reflect on how your previous year went and how you can improve. I ran a half marathon nearly 4 years ago and have since fallen out of shape. I plan on getting back into a daily running habit, nothing too long and crazy at first but just enough to get me back into better shape.

  23. My goals are to slowly ease back into running after hamstring and knee problems kept me from running fast last year…signed up for my second half marathon and I just want to run healthy and injury-free. My plan to do this is to continue the routines I learned from your Healthy Running Playbook and also some exercises from the sports chiro I went to see. I have realized that running outside feels SO much better than the treadmill these days so I will continue to work on that (which is harder with 2 little kids than just jumping on the treadmill). Also started clean eating to help with working out as felt so sluggish after eating junk all holiday season!
    Thanks as always Jason! 🙂

  24. New Year’s resolutions used to be such a hype thing to do. I think we’ve finally come to the conclusion we can set a goal any time any day and we should. But to think the turn of a year will create some magical pull toward your ideal life is wishful thinking. I like your philosophy of short bursts of focused effort. It allows one to keep setting smaller goals and continuously re-assessing. I’ll have to try a few things out.

  25. My goal in 2015 is to run consistently and injury free. (I’ve had consistent pain on the back/ outside of my heel, which seems to be less noticeable the more I run). I also plan to find a way to PR the half marathon; my goal for the half is 1:50 or under. (My current PR is 1:54)
    I’m training now for a mid-March marathon that I’m running in honor of my mom. I’m setting a goal of a 4:15 time. Would love to shorten that, but it’s only my 2nd marathon, the first being run at 4:28. I’m trying to be realistic! 🙂

  26. Goals are so 1999. I love the quote “losers have goals. winners have systems” because it basically means that you need to actually have a plan for how to get up off your lazy butt between the goal planning and achievement. The idea of “chucking” things into micro-goals or milestones keeps you motivated and keeps your eyes on the prize. The time-boxing part is also so crucial otherwise like Parkinson’s Law says the time it takes to complete a task will fill into how much time to give it (paraphrasing). So if I knew that I had only 1 week to practice for a 10K I would have a much more productive week than allowing 1 month to plan for the run. Between time-boxing and chucking one major 2015 goal can be 52 SPECIFIC micro-goals that you would complete each week. If its a goal that can be completed in 1 month then make a daily micro-goal. If its a goal that you have one day to complete–use the Pomodoro method (its the best technique that I learned in 2014). Thanks for sharing.

  27. I couldn’t agree with you more. I think people should set short, realistic goals, rather than crazy New Years Resolutions. Instead of “I want to lose 30 pounds”….set a goal to workout 3 times a week for one month, or I will run a 10k in 6 weeks. These smaller goals are great because they are easily attainable and will help you towards your big goal of losing weight!

    Great blog! Looking forward to seeing more!

  28. Great post to help motivate us, thanks.
    I have a personal goal to complete the London marathon this year, it’s a fairly big one – but I am determined to do it!


  1. […] about some of my resolutions for the upcoming 2014. Even though it seems that everyone is bashing new years resolutions, we may call them differently but we all have them.  So last year I posted here four points. […]