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The Best Ways to Stick to an Exercise Routine

The Top 5 Ways to Stick to Your New Year's Resolution, According to a Trainer

We're getting closer to the new year and that means many of you are going to set some life-changing resolutions! Of course, one of the most popular promises this time of year is that in a mere few days or hours, you will be well on your way to a committed plan to lose weight, get fit, and be in your best shape ever. We get it. Maybe you want to lose some weight or simply want to set a new personal record in your next half marathon.

Regardless of your fitness level or what you're hoping for in 2017, resolutions can be difficult to live up to. Most people give up on their routines within only two weeks of making their resolution. Those who make it past the two-week mark, usually end up throwing in the towel by June, or even before.

So how will you stick to your resolution this year? Do you have a plan of action? If not, don't worry! We got you covered with these five ways to win in 2017!

1. Write Down Your Reason

Is it for your health, your family, or even to fit into those cute jeans you wore a few years ago? Whatever that reason may be, it should be your motivation to keep going.

Post a list or photo on your fridge of the reasons you are starting this new resolution, the more you see it, the more it will inspire you. According to certified personal trainer Heather Neff, posting a picture of yourself now could be all the motivation you need: "Take a picture of yourself now and make sure to go back and look at it when you need an extra push to make it to the gym."

2. Set Some Goals

Whether you're in it to lose weight, build muscle, or to ready yourself for a marathon, you need to set a goal and write it down today. Before you write down wanting to be about to outswim Michael Phelps, make sure your goal is actually attainable. You don't want to set goals like "Run 16 kilometres by Friday" or "Lose 18 kilograms this month" because those goals are not realistic. They're big and threatening when you look at them as a whole.

A better thing to do is to break it up into smaller goals such as "Drop half a kilo this week" or "Hold my plank for 20 seconds longer." When you break down your goals like this, you're less likely to become overwhelmed and discouraged due to lack of results.

3. Get A Workout Buddy

Grab yourself a friend and make a commitment to each other to go work out on set days. According to Neff, "When you make a workout date with a friend, you are less likely to break it and more likely to push yourself even harder then if you were doing it alone."

Find someone positive, someone you feel comfortable with, and above all, someone you can tolerate a few times per week. Also, don't try to partner up with your fittest friend. You should find someone of a similar fitness level that wants the same results that is as committed (or more so) as you are so you aren't prone to quitting because you can't match your super-fit friend.

4. Mark Your Progress With a Picture

Pictures are amazing when it comes to motivation. Neff suggests that you take a full-length picture of yourself at every angle and, after a couple of weeks, take more pictures and compare the set. "If you've been faithful to your routine, you'll be surprised what a difference just 14 days can make and this will surely keep you going! if that doesn't get you past January, nothing will!"

5. Reward Yourself

After you've met one of your short-term goals, give yourself a reward. We're not talking about chocolate cake here! Your reward should be something that highlights your recent efforts! Lost a few kilos? Splurge on some new jeans! Feeling stronger than ever? Order a set of shiny chrome dumbbells off Amazon! Rewards are something to look forward to and something to work toward, so they can also help you keep the motivation going.

Once you get going with your routine and start seeing and feeling the positive effects, you're going to do great. Don't give up, don't give in, and try to find something that you enjoy doing and build your efforts around that.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock
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