Don't Fall Off the Fitness Wagon in January

12/01/2016 15:12 GMT | Updated 11/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Whilst it's great that a lot of us are trying to improve our health, fitness and diet in the New Year, many of us fall off the wagon as quickly as we started. It's most apparent in the crowded gyms in January, followed by the drop off come February.

The below tips will help you keep your goals throughout the year to boost your motivation and stop you from slipping off the wagon.

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Set achievable but challenging goals

Many people set out on their health-kick with unachievable goals, examples include:

"I'm going no-carb for six months"- it's a lot harder than you may think.

Instead try: "I'm going to reduce the amount of refined carbohydrates I eat. This week I'm going to remove sugar from my brews and not eating sweets, next week I will cut out white bread. By the end of the month I will have removed all refined carbohydrates and refined sugar from my diet and limit myself to a fist of wholegrain carbohydrates per meal"

Set measurable goals

If a goal can't be measured, how do you know if you have reached this goal? Setting measurable goals will help you work towards your goal, and help maintain motivation as you approach your goal. Once you have reached your goal... set a new one.

Try these simple swaps to set measurable goals, both fitness and nutritionally focused.

Instead of "I will to get fitter" - set measurable goals of:

"I will drop 10 seconds off my 1000 m row time"

Or

" I will reduce my five km run time by one minute"

Instead of "I want to get stronger" - set measurable goals of:

"I will add 10 kg to my bench press"

"I will be able to do five pull ups "

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Set both short, medium and long-term goals

If you focus only on long term goals, you can lose your way and potentially your motivation as it can appear that your long term goal is too far away or unachievable. Setting smaller, more frequent goals helps improve motivation by aiming for gradual improvements week on week, or month by month as opposed for a year at a time.

Don't just set goals on outcomes, set behaviour goals

To achieve a certain goal, your behaviour will have to change to a certain extent. Without changing behaviour, it is very unlikely that you will achieve any goals. You aren't going to get fitter without changing the way you exercise and you're not going to lose fat if you eat and exercise the same way as you do at the moment. Changing behaviour is key to achieving your goals.

Christian is a nutrition expert and CEO of Soulmatefood.