New Year, New Bod

Six tips to help you keep your fitness resolutions.

By: Dan Welden

It’s that time of year again when millions of people around the world make the life-changing decision that they’re finally getting in shape. But for many folks that decision lasts about a week before they return to their nightly Netflix-and-takeout routine and forget all about that resolution. That lifestyle may be easier and more familiar, but you’ll be kicking yourself this summer when your stomach has magically expanded several inches.

The reality is that you have approximately six months before peak beach season. So how do you keep your fitness resolutions and avoid a sad case of the shrunken Speedos? Remember these six tips and and you’ll be much more likely to meet your fitness goals in the new year.

1. Set “SMART” goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-related—SMART. Be specific about what you want. Do you want to gain muscle mass or lose weight—and if so, how much? Set small measurable goals. Do you want to add 10 pounds to the amount you can curl, or do you want to be able to run two miles without stopping? Make your goals achievable. You won’t lose 100 pounds in one month, so be realistic. Don’t try to become an Adonis in six months; you’ll end up injuring yourself or just giving up. Finally, set deadlines for yourself.

2. Don’t make excuses. Excuses are for quitters, so be the person who inspires others. If you find yourself starting to think of excuses, immediately think of your goals and how you won’t hit them unless you follow through.

3. Find an inspiration. Is there someone specific you aim to look like? Be realistic, because many of these ripped, god-like individuals spend hours at the gym and maintain a strict diet. Unless you’re looking to give up alcohol and takeout, be practical when choosing your inspiration.

4. Avoid weighing yourself. If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t weigh yourself too frequently, because that scale can be misleading. Instead, track your progress by how your clothes fit and how you feel. Weigh yourself every couple of weeks to make sure you’re on track; if you’re not heading in the right direction, review your diet and workout routine and make the necessary modifications.

5. Hold yourself accountable. Let people know what you’re doing, because your friends can help keep you motivated and maybe even accompany you to the gym. Having a friend with you helps reduce gymtimidation while also holding you accountable. Plus, it’s way more fun to have someone with whom to check other gym-goers out!

6. Don’t give up. Small changes are still changes, so think of fitness as a marathon, not a sprint. There will always be hold-ups and setbacks, but you have to fight through it. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.