get in shape fastEvery year on January 1st, people across the country set a goal to get fit fast. It happens annually without fail. In fact, the results of a Neilsen survey published in 2015 gives the top two spots to related goals. Of those surveyed, 37 percent made their 2015 resolution to stay fit and healthy, and 32 percent resolved to lose weight. Those are worthy goals, however the motivation to continue to pursue them after a few months — for some people, it’s only a few weeks! — fades, leaving the majority of New Year’s resolutions abandoned by April. According to Forbes, only 8 percent of people who make resolutions ever stick with them long enough to achieve them.

So, when you want to get fit fast, how can you maintain the motivation and momentum to stay with it and finally make this the year you reach your goal? Momentum wouldn’t be a problem if you could start seeing results immediately, such as losing a pound or two after your very first workout of the year. That isn’t likely to happen, so motivation is the more immediate issue to tackle. If you can stay motivated long enough to start to see results, then momentum will kick in.

Different people are motivated by different things. Most professionals separate different motivating factors into two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. The American Council on Exercise explains that, if you’re extrinsically motivated, then it’s the thought of a slimmer, trimmer body or buying a new wardrobe in a smaller size that motivates you. The trouble with extrinsic motivation is that, once you’ve reach your goal of dropping “X” number of pounds or fitting into clothes that are a certain size, you could lose interest and end up back on the resolution treadmill again, so to speak. People who are intrinsically motivated have an edge when it comes to sticking with exercise. Their inspiration comes from within, from how exercising makes them feel or from a personal meaning they’ve attached to getting in shape such as avoiding the heart disease that runs rampant on both sides of their family. The people who can find both intrinsic and extrinsic reasons to get in shape are the ones who will be more prone to reaching their fitness goals.

Whether you’re naturally extrinsically or intrinsically motivated, there are some tricks you can use to see it through and finally get in shape. In her article on motivation for ShapeFit, Alice Burron suggests that you not only set a goal, but that you tell another person about your goal, and do it in detail. Once you’ve said it out loud to someone else, it becomes more real and you’re essentially committed to doing it. You don’t want to be thought of by another person as a quitter, do you?

Other common but valuable advice includes hanging out with others who want to get in shape, so you can all help support each other in your similar goal. Stay realistic about what is possible, and break your overall goal down into smaller goals that you can reach quicker and more easily than the big picture goal. In another article on motivation for ShapeFit, Christina Carney suggests visualization as a valuable tool. Go through the physical motions of the visualization. Close your eyes. See yourself thinner, healthier and able to walk a flight of stairs without needing a hit off of an oxygen tank. Think about how terrific it feels to be healthy and in shape, how exciting it is to shop for new clothes and how you’ll want to be seen in a swimsuit. To get fit fast is only possible if you stay motivated and follow a proven plan.

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