Author: Maggie Voelker

My New Year’s resolution to really hit the gym sounded great on January 1st, but now less than two weeks later, it seems that same resolution has seriously lost its luster. Sound familiar? Keeping your New Year’s fitness resolution is tough; you’re essentially vowing to make a large lifestyle change literally overnight. So if you’ve fallen off the horse, you’re not alone. Jump back on it and follow these tips to help you stick to that pesky resolution.

Be Realistic

Only Superman is running 10 miles every day in 2012, so don’t set yourself up for failure by making your resolution something as unattainable as that. Think about your lifestyle and the amount of time and effort you’re willing to devote to bettering yourself. A more reasonable resolution might be, simply running four days a week or training for a 5k in June and a 10k in December.

Make your resolution achievable and sustainable. You’ll only end up burned out if you set unrealistic goals.

Write It Down

I find that putting things in print makes them seem “real”. This is absolutely true with your New Year’s resolution. Jot it down on the cover of your planner, write it on the refrigerator’s white board, or, if you’re like me, get crafty.

One year I typed up my resolution and printed it out in a fun, giant-size font. I then cut out magazine pictures, printed out motivating quotes, and created a collage that I hung on the back of the door to my room. It was a constant (and super cute) reminder of my goals. Believe me, you can’t help but feel a little guilty when you look at the collage after a week of skipping the gym.

Tell Someone

Seek out a close friend or relative to share your resolution with. Telling someone adds legitimacy to your goal and will likely result in an ally to support and encourage you. Maybe you’ll even get a workout buddy or your loved one will agree to eat healthier too.

Keep Track

Monitoring your progress is crucial to keeping your resolution. You’ll be more able to notice your improvements by keeping a record of things like your mile time, running distances, weight, body measurements and so forth. So figure out a system that works for you and go with it.

Some people prefer to keep things simple and use a small notebook to track their exercise, food or measurements. Others like calorie counting chart or workbooks. If nothing else, use a wall calendar to mark-off the days you work out; hey, it feels great to put a big, red “X” on those days.

If you’re technologically savvy, check out many of the online tools that can be used to track your daily nutrition and exercise. Many of these tools will help you set daily calorie and activity objectives based on your body and your goals. Smartphone users might also enjoy tracking their progress using one of the many health-related applications for phones.

Popular apps for tracking nutrition and exercise include Lose It! and MyFitnessPal. Both programs allow you to pick from their food and exercise databases to record your daily activity and ensure that you stay within your calorie budget. To monitor cardio, iTreadmill works well for those who’d like to count their steps, and RunKeeper and Edmondo Sports Tracker are perfect for tracking distance based fitness. iSometrics is an app that gives simple resistance exercises that you can do practically anywhere. Authentic Yoga is great for beginning to advanced yogis and GymGoal is a wonderful tool for gym-goers who want to track their weight lifting progress or ensure proper form on a machine.

Reward Yourself

Finally, as the saying goes, “work hard, play hard.” Achieving fitness goals is never easy and it’s important to take time to reward yourself for all your hard work. After six months of healthy eating and exercising, it’s time for some new exercise clothing or a pair of sport sunglasses for running outdoors in the summer. Have an especially tough kickboxing class? Indulge in a warm bath and a bowl of ice cream (not the whole container, just a bowl). These little rewards will help you push through the year!

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