Whether it’s to finally get into strength training or to make it that yoga class every week, a fitness goal can harness your motivation. But while many of us do make New Year’s Resolutions to get the year off to a good start, most of us don’t stick with them.

That’s because we may be doing them wrong. To successfully stick to our fitness goals, or New Year’s Resolutions, we need to get better at not only making the right goals but learning how to stay motivated.

We spoke to Fitstop head of product, Nikala Rizzo, about her top tips to help you keep your fitness goals in 2024. Since she has represented Australia as a senior volleyball player and has completed several marathons, triathlons and even an Ironman, she knows all about being motivated despite challenges. 

1. Be realistic

“Firstly, it is important to know your body and what you are capable of based on your current fitness level. Everyone is on a different journey, so it’s essential that you don’t compare yourself to others. To help you achieve your goals, I would recommend choosing a fitness program you actually enjoy, an environment that inspires you and be realistic on the number of days every week that you see yourself exercising,” says Rizzo. 

“By setting up an approach that works best for you and that is realistic, naturally you will be more likely to stick to the process, make daily progress towards your goals and your motivation will grow along the way.”

2. Make your goals tangible

To make your goals tangible, get specific and ask yourself what the goal is, why it’s important to you and when you want to achieve it by

“For example, if you want to ensure that you are fit enough to realise your dream of hiking the Inca Trail, you may want to start doing strength-training on areas of your body that will be put under strain twice a week to build full body strength and to prevent injuries,” says Rizzo.

“Visualise and constantly remind yourself of the what, why and when. If you want to trek the Inca Trail, set up photos of Machu Picchu on your desk. If your goal is to run 14km by the next City to Surf, set up a countdown app on your phone to remind yourself of the deadline, and put images of the finish line by the beach on your phone lock-screen.”

3. Make an action plan

When making your fitness goal, sit down and map out how you are going to get there. It’s not enough to say you’ll go to the gym every week, you need to work out how that fits in your schedule and actually set that time aside. If you go in the mornings, you may need to pack your gym bag the night before and set your alarm. It takes a while to form a new habit, so you need to get all the practical details right before hand.

Psychologist Dr John Mahoney says this action plan links the goal to the actual doing.

“If your New Year’s resolution is, ‘I’m going to get fitter this year’, the people who set that goal and stop there, they’ll likely drop out of exercise eventually. But those who go to the next step of putting together an action plan that they consistently strive for, they’re more like to reach their goal.” 

4. Team up

“Exercising with a friend or loved one can make it more fun, help you stay motivated and therefore more likely to stick to your exercise plan. It’s a way to reach your fitness goals while also socialising,” says Rizzo.

“Exercising with a buddy will also make you both more accountable; you won’t want to skip out on training if it means you are stopping your friend from reaching their goals, too.”

Try to match with someone who has the same goals or fitness level as you or join a group training environment.

5. Change up your workouts

“Getting bored is a huge factor for many people giving up on their workout regime. Keep your workouts fun and exciting. There are many different programs out there that can help you achieve a fitness goal, however the number one reason someone will achieve their goals is adherence, which is made much easier if you enjoy the process.”

It’s great to stick with what you enjoy, but diversity in how you workout can also keep you motivated. If you’re a gym junkie, going for a walk outside could help you get the benefits of exercising outdoors. If you love gentle yoga, a jog or joining a soccer team could balance your flexibility with cardio.

6. Don’t burn out 

“A common mistake people make when starting a training journey towards a goal is going too hard before their body is ready. This is generally a combination of overtraining and under-recovering. It’s important to remember that your body needs time to adapt to a new exercise routine, so listen to your body and remember it’s all about consistency over time.”

If you go hard on the first week and then injure yourself, you’ll be further from your goal than ever.

“Some of the best things you can do to help the recovery process are to prioritise sleep and schedule in some active recovery in the form of a gentle walk, swim, cycle or stretch. It’s also important to fuel your body adequately by eating nutritious food, drinking plenty of water, and limiting alcohol.”

Whatever your fitness goal, remember it’s a journey and may take time.

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