Quitter’s Day or Reflection Day

As the new year begins, it’s only natural to pause and reflect on the journey we’ve undertaken over the past 12 months. Each year brings with it a unique set of challenges, triumphs, and lessons that shape our personal narratives. For me, it was one of my more challenging years and I was reluctant to reflect on my personal goals – especially those involving fitness. However, sometimes, if we offer ourselves some grace and broaden our definitions of how to meet those goals, we may just surprise ourselves.

Last year, my goal was to increase the number of workouts using a spin bike and application I had purchased for the bike. Initially looking at the total workouts tracked on the app, I had failed in meeting my goal. After beating myself up a bit and reflecting on why I may not have met the goal, I had to offer myself some grace. This past year was riddled with obstacles in familial obligations – many of which were unforeseen – and it quickly became a year of survival. I also realized that in such moments, I often retreat from the world and immerse myself in nature to recharge. Knowing this about myself, I checked my apple watch to see how many workouts I had recorded. In the end, I worked out nearly every day in 2023 – sometimes it was only 15 minutes, sometimes it was 2 different workouts in a single day – but the total was 355 workouts!

The lesson here is that life will always happen, and seasons of life can change just as quickly as the weather itself. I encourage all of you as we near “Quitter’s Day” or the 2nd Friday in January when most people have abandoned their goals or resolutions for the new year, to reconsider how you will define success – is it consistency? Is it a specific number of workouts? Is it the scale? Is it muscle gain? Only you can decide what the successful completion of your goals will look like; it’s also okay to redefine success as the season changes throughout the year.

Below are a few tips on how best to reflect on how well you met your 2023 goals and resolutions as well as how to reframe your successes in 2024 during the first 2 weeks and beyond.

Gratitude Amidst Challenges:

This year, like any other, presented its fair share of challenges. Whether they were personal, professional, or global in nature, it’s essential to acknowledge the difficulties we faced. However, amidst the trials, there were moments of resilience and strength that emerged. Reflect on those instances when you overcame adversity, demonstrating the power of the human spirit.

Personal Growth and Milestones:

Take a moment to celebrate the personal milestones and growth achieved throughout the year. Did you acquire a new skill, overcome a fear, or accomplish a long-standing goal? Recognize and appreciate the progress made on your journey of self-improvement. These small victories are the building blocks of a fulfilling life.

Connections and Relationships:

Our interactions with others play a significant role in shaping our experiences. Reflect on the relationships that enriched your life this year. Whether it’s deepening existing connections or forming new ones, consider the impact of these relationships on your personal well-being. Express gratitude to those who have been a source of support, encouragement, and joy.

Unexpected Turns and Surprises:

Life has a way of surprising us, often when we least expect it. Reflect on the unexpected turns and surprises that came your way this year. Sometimes, these unplanned events lead to valuable lessons or opportunities for growth. Embrace the uncertainty, and acknowledge the resilience you demonstrated when faced with the unknown.


Being consistent in our efforts is sometimes more important than the number of minutes exercised, weightlifted, hours spent fasting, or calories consumed. Consider your efforts cumulatively over the course of a week, 2 weeks, a month, or the season. Looking at your efforts holistically will keep you motivated.

Lessons Learned:

What lessons did you learn in the past year? Reflect on the insights gained from both successes and setbacks. Consider how these lessons can inform your choices and actions moving forward. Growth often comes from a place of self-awareness, and taking the time to understand the lessons embedded in our experiences can be transformative.
As we consider our new goals and resolutions for 2024, let us carry forward the wisdom gained from our reflections. Life’s journey is a continuous process of learning, adapting, and evolving. By pausing to reflect on the year behind us, we pave the way for a more intentional and purposeful future. May your reflections guide you toward a brighter and more fulfilling path ahead as well as the confidence and motivation to surpass Quitter’s Day with new resolve.

Written by Kelly Reising who is passionate about nutrition, fitness, and health. Dr. McMillan is a Board-Certified orthopedic sports medicine surgeon practicing in the Virtua Health System of South Jersey.

For more information, please visit www.drseanmcmillan.com or follow us on Twitter @sportsdrsean.

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