Why we should celebrate New Year every three months
Opinion

Why we should celebrate New Year every three months

Katja Fischer
18.1.2024
Translation: Megan Cornish

Suddenly, everyone's back on their exercise mats. That’s great, and it’s at least half the battle. Only there’s more to it. Here’s why you shouldn’t give up on New Year’s resolutions – and should make them even more often instead.

Every January, I’m left rubbing my eyes when I suddenly find myself standing in front of an incredible number of people in my second job as a group fitness trainer – many more than just a few weeks before. This isn’t surprising, but it’s always fascinating. The resolution to «do more exercise» is written all over their faces. Highly motivated, they look at me, ready to work hard with me over the next few minutes.

And that’s what they do. Sweaty, satisfied and proud, they leave again an hour later. And I – no less happy – ask myself: where have you been all this time? And why didn’t you all come before?

It has to be December

Resolutions are made in January. Not in April. Not in October. And especially not in December. In times of self-improvement and mindfulness, you’d think that you’re fine-tuning your wellness every day. And it should be clear to everyone that an active life contributes to mental and physical health and satisfaction. But getting into a routine isn’t that easy.

«All year round, you read and hear about what makes a healthy life. The festive season gives us the space to reflect on everything,» explains health psychologist Sonia Lippke from Bremen Jacobs University to the «Ärzte Zeitung» newspaper (article in German). On a small scale, you can observe this phenomenon every week: why else does Monday – fresh after sofa Sunday – seem to be the most popular day to exercise.

In January, however, people positively race to gyms and trainers. After the excesses of Christmas and a lot of time to decide on their list of resolutions, they’re all back on the mat in the gym. Bargaining for equipment in the weights area. Stocking up on more home equipment. Or heading out in droves for outdoor training – in sub-zero temperatures. After all, the motivation’s there now; we’re not talking about a spring awakening.

Photo: Ifunny
Photo: Ifunny

Your inner lazybones takes over

Don’t get me wrong. I think that’s really great! Come on down, everyone – big and small, young and old, thin and stout. I’m happy about every single new sports enthusiast who finds their way to training. And even happier about those who stay.

Unfortunately, what’s also typical every year is that many highly motivated people soon quit. You can watch as the group fitness classes and gyms empty from week to week from the end of January onwards, and by March at the latest they look the same as they did before the turn of the year. Seasoned gym-goers are happy to have their space back. In contrast, the ones who have fallen by the wayside are annoyed that (once again) nothing has come of their sporting resolutions.

But your inner lazybones is a nightmare. It sneaks up on you, without you even noticing. Until it’s completely taken over.

You’ve finally not only made the decision to do more for your fitness, you've also got started, and that’s where the first hurdle comes. The babysitter cancels. Shortly afterwards, your child falls ill. And you feel ill anyway. Just when you get over your cold, you have to work for longer in the evenings. Then school report discussions and annual meetings start and you should actually be at home with your family in the evening… There’s always something. It’s like a curse.

Happy New Quarter!

But you know what? It keeps happening. There’s always something. Nevertheless, you can still make time for exercise and schedule it. So why shouldn’t you just try your New Year’s exercise resolution again in March? Because getting back into it is even more difficult? Maybe. One thing’s certain: your comeback will be even tougher next January.

Go back and take stock: how did your resolution fail this time? Have you taken on too much? Did you not set a specific enough goal? «More exercise» might be too vague. And «running a half marathon» is specific – but someone who doesn’t like sports doesn’t immediately become a marathon runner. Every little step counts.

And then you just celebrate New Year again at the beginning of April – New Quarter, so to speak. And if necessary, again in July and October. Over and over again. Until the routine sticks.

Happy New Year, and Happy New Quarter!

My colleague, sports editor Siri Schubert, will show you how to formulate goals for the long term and which tricks and mental strategies you can use to maintain your motivation.

  • Guide

    How to reach your exercise goals this year

    by Siri Schubert

Header image: Unsplash/Geert Pieters

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Mom of Anna and Elsa, aperitif expert, group fitness fanatic, aspiring dancer and gossip lover. Often a multitasker and a person who wants it all, sometimes a chocolate chef and queen of the couch.


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