Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article

With February just around the corner, many of us are taking stock of the New Year’s resolutions we were so fired up about last month. Unfortunately, research shows that just 8 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually achieve them.

Losing weight and getting in shape is arguably the most common resolution of all. If you’re starting to feel your momentum taking a downturn, read on for some helpful tips for keeping your workout goals alive and well all year long.

If you’re looking to stoke your motivational fire, try turning your big goal into more sizeable short-term goals. This approach makes sense. (What’s more intimidating? Losing 50 pounds or losing five?) One of the worst things you can do is set goals that are vague and unclear . On the contrary, rework your goals so that they reflect short-term objectives that are both reasonable and measurable.


For example, if losing 50 pounds is indeed your goal for the year, break that down into five pounds per month. From there, you can take it even further, setting weekly goals that translate to one to two pounds per week. How will you achieve this? Make a daily exercise routine and meal plan, and be sure to write it down . Research has shown that you’re much more likely to succeed if you clarify your goals in writing.

And (here comes the best part) be sure to celebrate the milestones. Granting yourself reasonable rewards for meeting your short-term goals ups motivation and gives you something to work toward.

Let’s face it: if your workout routine is fun and enjoyable, you’ll be much more likely to stick with it. Another kicker? Research has shown that the more fun your exercise regimen is, the less likely you’ll be to eat poorly afterward.

If you hate running, then going on daily 30-minute jogs probably isn’t an ideal New Year’s resolution. Instead, select activities that ignite your excitement. Enrolling in a membership program to your local gym or studio is the perfect way to make exercise fun. For starters, working out with a group increases both motivation and accountability. It also creates a sense of teamwork and camaraderie that you just can’t get from streaming a workout video in your living room.

Organizations like MoveUSA bring a fresh new model to the mix. Instead of a single membership to one local gym, MoveUSA offers a passport that grants you access to all the top fitness providers in your area. The idea behind this approach is to give your workout routine some variety. Translation: It makes it fun, and you are much more likely to remain active! Mixing up your fitness regimen has been shown to seriously increase interest and motivation. In fact, MoveUSA reports that members who mix up their workout using different providers are almost twice as likely to still be active 12 months later than those who use a single gym or studio.

For many of us, the time of day that’s dedicated to exercise can play a crucial role in success or failure. Experts say that the best time to exercise is in the morning , before the madness of the day takes hold.

Working out for just 20 minutes in the morning has been linked to better self-esteem, optimal metabolism, healthier sleep, and increased mental alertness. Another perk of adopting an a.m. fitness routine is that it all but eliminates the odds of getting distracted . Think about it: When are you most likely to talk yourself out of exercising? After a long day of work, or first thing in the morning when you’re most mentally clear?

Another bonus is that most gyms and sports studios are less crowded in the morning. Some people have even reported decreased stress levels after working out first thing upon waking. On the flip side, exercising too close to bedtime has been associated with trouble falling asleep. Still, the biggest perk is that the American Council on Exercise says that people who workout in the morning are more likely to stick with it, which is what New Year’s resolutions are all about.

Latest From ...