You resolved that this will be the year you cross the finish line in a 5K, start a strength training program, set a new personal best in a triathlon, or sign up for a mud run. Although 40% of Americans set goals -- including to exercise more -- to mark the start of a new year, fewer than 10% achieve them.
You don't have to be in that group. Ashley Borden, author of the book Your Perfect Fit and a personal trainer with a roster of celebrity clients, suggests ways you can succeed this year.
Set Small Goals
Thinking about running a 5K might seem daunting for new runners. Instead of focusing on how much work it'll take to cross the finish line, Borden suggests breaking big goals into bite-size steps: Run two blocks this week; add two more blocks next week. "Setting smaller goals feels more manageable and mentally rewarding," she says.
Track Your Progress
Time your pace for a 1-mile run, or strap on a fitness tracker to monitor your daily step count. The data helps you see progress in your workout, which is the key to staying motivated, Borden says. A small study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that women who wore high-tech fitness trackers logged 62 minutes of physical activity per week more than those who wore just a pedometer.
Find a Tribe
Group sweat sessions might be the key to achieving your fitness resolutions. One study found that exercisers who walked in groups were more likely to keep up with their workouts than solo walkers. Find a training buddy to keep you accountable.
Make a Bet
The thought of losing cold, hard cash could be the motivation you need to stick with your resolutions. Make a bet with a friend, or sign up with an accountability app -- and prepare to pony up if you miss a workout or fall short of a fitness goal. One study found that exercisers were more likely to hit their exercise goals when offered financial rewards.
Schedule an Event
Go ahead and register for that 5K or mud run as soon as you start training. A lot of people use upcoming events to muster the motivation to keep training, says Borden. The deadline also allows you to create a training plan so you're ready to cross the finish line on race day. "You can track your progress and tweak as you go," she says.
By the Numbers
5.5: Percentage of people who resolve to work out more often in the new year.
36: Percentage of people who gave up on their fitness resolutions because it was hard to find time to work out.
26: Percentage of exercisers who break a sweat to achieve a fitness goal.
57 million: Number of Americans who have gym memberships.
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