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Beat the odds and reach your goals this year!

The commitment to lose weight is the number one New Year's resolution in the United States. Because of that, we've all noticed the increased amount of people in line for the cardio machines after New Years. We've also all noticed that number taper off after a few weeks, too.

Being someone who works out regularly, I know that all I have to do is just wait it out. But is that what we really want? Should we really expect and hope for people to get tired of it just so we can get to the weights faster? Of course not! We should desire a healthier country as a whole and hope that everyone reaches their fitness goals. Statistics show that over half give up on their fitness/health goals that they set on New Year's by six months. How can we change that? Let's beat the odds this year and get you to your goal!

A good place to start is planning ahead of time. Without a plan, most people don't succeed in what they hoped to accomplish for the week. Keep to your goal and try these tips:

---- Start by trying to shop for and prepare all of your food for the upcoming week on Sunday. This will leave no guess work and room for bad choices. If you have your breakfasts foods ready to go for quick pick up in the morning, your lunch already made and waiting, and pre-planned ideas for dinner you will set yourself up for success. When you don't, you might skip breakfast, pick up something fast for lunch, and go out to dinner. ---- Keep reminders everywhere. Set them on calendars, post its left on the fridge, and notes in your car. These little reminders will help to keep the goal in mind at all times. Secretly, they'll make you feel a little guilty if you don't do what you were trying to remind yourself to do, too. ---- Decide at the beginning of the week when you will work out each time and stick to it. ---- Treat yourself by purchasing a nice gym bag that you can pack each night so you'll be ready for the next workout. Get some fun new workout clothes that will make you feel good and confident. Get those, clothes to change into after your shower, towels, and soaps all ready and packed so that you have nothing holding you back. ---- Create a fun workout playlist that you will listen to when you workout with your new favorite songs that get you pumped up and ready to go. ---- Get in bed by a decent time so that being tired isn't an excuse.

Soon enough, these little actions will become habits and will eventually just become part of your life.

At the beginning of your fitness journey and throughout the entire process, track your progress. Now a days, you can do this on websites and apps to make it even easier. By tracking your measurements, food intake, and/or workouts, you will be able to actually analyze all the changes and not just think you might look different. That, combined with the way you feel, will really help to make this a part of your life and keep you looking forward.

If you feel like your hitting a slump in your progress, find new ways to keep it interesting. Try joining a group. Having people in your life that also have the same goal will help to motivate and push you to not lose sight of your goals. Kickboxing clubs, running/jogging clubs, classes, there are tons of way to meet other like minded people to work out and build a support system with. Connecting with some friends that are interested in workout out can be inspiring and helpful, too. Either way, use the support to help get your mind in the right spot. If groups aren't your thing, experiment with new classes, gym equipment, or places to workout. Sometimes all you need is a new atmosphere.

If the daunting feeling of being in a big corporate gym is what keeps you from continuing, seek out more intimate settings, such as a privately owned gym or outside classes. The feeling that you can have a one on one relationship with a owner or personal trainer at a smaller location can help to increase confidence and consistency. Getting a personal trainer will also help to keep things interesting as well. Sometimes when you try starting a workout routine on your own, things can get overwhelming and confusing so having the option of getting a trainer can eliminate those feelings.

Treat yourself once you hit benchmarks in your goal. This will make reaching your goal even more exciting and fun! Think of some things you love to do or have, that won't undo your hard work, and go for it once you reach significant points, such as being able to run 3 miles or losing 2 inches off your waist. Not only will this make it more fun, but it'll help you reach your main goal faster than what you previously thought.

Repeatedly ask yourself why you started. Each time you get to your workout spot, think back onto your goal and what you wanted to achieve out of it all. Going into your workout with these feelings can help you push harder and find strength within you didn't know you had.

Keep yourself accountable by paying up front for something that requires you to be there, such as personal training. Having a small group of people that rely on each other for car pool or attendance will also help to keep you accountable as well. You wouldn't want to let anyone down, would you?

Most importantly,don't be too hard on yourself. Everyone reaches the slumps, loses their motivation, and hits plateaus. Don't let any of those things be the reason you think, "forget it". That mentality is usually why people quit.

Just know that whatever you are feeling is OKAY and that you can always tweak your New Year's resolution. Whatever you do, don't give up though. If you go into it with a positive frame of mind and understand that slip-ups every now and then are COMPLETELY NORMAL, you WILL succeed. Try these tips and see if they help you to finally reach the goal you've been setting for yourself! Always look up and stay positive.

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