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Image of a woman exercising

How to stick to your fitness goals in the New Year

When it comes to staying fit, most us are in the same boat. We're either after some healthy motivation to help us work towards an end goal, or we just want to know how to get fit in the first place.

So, whether your new year's resolution is to take up a new sport, run a half marathon, lose weight or simply to be a bit more active, personal trainer Nicola Addison shares her top 10 fitness habits to give you a new year health kick:

Rise to the occasion

Though studies are starting to favour morning workouts for weight loss, stamina and productivity - 'completing a workout before your day 'properly' starts is a great way to 'get it done' before the rest of your day and life takes over.'

'If you are more of a night owl than an early bird, setting yourself a target of getting up before work could be setting yourself up to fail. The optimal time to exercise simply needs to be the time of the day you're most likely get it done,' says Nicola.

Have a back-up plan

We all have days where we just don't have the time to go for a run, or we seriously can't be bothered to hit the gym. And that's ok, says Nicola. 'If you don't have time to do a 'proper workout', try staying active by doing some extra walking where possible.'

Treat yourself

'It's important to view calories in (food/drink consumed) versus calories burnt (activity levels) as an energy seesaw. If you consume more than you burn, you'll likely put on weight; if you consume less than you burn you'll lose it. But the odd treat with a steady seesaw is absolutely fine,' advises Nicola.

Buddy up

Not only is taking part in social activity good for general health and wellbeing, but it can also provide some healthy motivation:

'Training regularly is the hardest part of getting/keeping fit, but working out with a buddy or going to a class is a great way of keeping to a regular plan,' explains Nicola.

Make it musical

Ongoing research is unanimous when it comes to the effects listening to music has on physical activity. Not only does it help to distract athletes from discomfort during a tougher class, but it's also thought to 'up' performance by up to 15 per cent.

Don't be too hard on yourself

Contrary to popular belief it's ourselves, and not our bodies, who are holding us back the most. 'It's very easy to set unrealistic goals when it comes to exercise - and often we're just setting ourselves up to fail! Just doing something regularly - and well - will provide the most results', says Nicola.

Dress the part

It may sound futile, but according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, clothing influences behaviour and attitudes, meaning what you wear subconsciously changes how you act.

Take a break

Making sure you give your body time to rest is just as important as keeping fit, warns Nicola.

'After a full-body workout, I'll rest the next day to give my body a chance to repair itself. But I remain active. This process is known as 'active rest' and looks like a brisk walk, maybe a Pilates class or some stretching done at home.'

Make it fun

It goes without saying, but choosing activities you enjoy is key to a successful work-out routine. Make the health benefits a secondary factor into the decision to continue with a class or form that you're not comfortable with, otherwise, you'll resent every part of the process.

Keep a log

Fitness trackers are a fantastic way of monitoring your health and fitness goals! From counting your way to 10,000 steps per day, to counting calories, tracking active time and monitoring sleep. 

As a Register of Exercise Professionals-accredited training provider, Nicola consults for leading health and fitness brands and regularly contributes to press publications.

Find out more about Nicola Addison, or read more about Healthspan's health experts.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible, supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.