“What tips do you have for staying on track with New Year’s fitness goals?” — Peter V., Chicago, IL
First of all, don’t set a time limit for them. Getting ripped abs in six weeks may be possible, but it isn’t necessarily doable, given the intangibles of life. “We don’t control time,” says life coach Brian Grasso. Giving yourself an ultimatum and failing to meet it through no fault of your own will just make you feel like a failure and want to quit outright.
Second, let technology serve you. There are plenty of great fitness-tracking devices that make it easy to record and interpret data from your workouts, nutrition, and lifestyle. I’ve been using a Fitbit (fitbit.com) to track my sleep patterns, and it’s made me realize that I don’t sleep through the night without interruption, so that’s a problem I need to address (maybe stop drinking coffee earlier in the day, or invest in a new pillow?). It also works as a pedometer and syncs wirelessly with a smartphone (iPhone or Android) and computer.
Finally, make sure you’re motivated by positive thinking, not a desire to silence doubters. Telling yourself you’ll get abs so you can show everyone who called you “fat” who’s boss doesn’t work. Do it because you want to, for yourself alone.
Sean Hyson, C.S.C.S., is the Men’s Fitness training director and author of 101 Best Workouts of All Time, available at 101bestworkouts.com.