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What did you resolve to do this New Year? Working as a personal trainer, January is by far my busiest month. The realisation that all the indulgence in December is undoing the hard work from the rest of the year is enough to make anyone run to the juicer or spin bike! Seeing people coming back to the gym after time away or even seeing new faces walk through the door – all with such determination – makes my job worthwhile. A personal trainer will never judge you (we're not saints!), but we will be there with the skills and knowledge to help you keep to your goals.

Here are a few of my top tips on staying focused on your 2015 goals:

∫ Be clear on what you want to achieve. You've probably heard the term 'SMART' goal before, but it is important to make sure that any target you set yourself is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound. Let's use an example- you want to lose weight. How much weight do you want to lose; how will you measure this (i.e. body weight, body fat, bmi etc); is this an achievable target, bearing in mind that a loss of more than 2lbs a week is not always recommended as it can lead to loss of muscle mass as well as fat loss; does this target fit in with your lifestyle, e.g. family or work commitments? And when would you like to achieve it by? By really focusing on what you want, you'll find it.

∫ Don't be afraid to ask for help. You may be tempted to buy the latest fad diet book, and this may work for you, but a book aimed at a million readers will rarely be specific enough to suit your individual requirements. Speaking to a health professional – for example a nutritionist or personal trainer- will provide you with more individualised support and advice to meet your goal.

∫ Get a little help from your friends. Do you have a friend with the same goal? Why not make a plan together? Alternatively, you can join a gym or a group fitness class where you will meet like- minded people with similar goals. Classes are a great way to get fit in a fun and sociable environment. Try and pick classes that have a small number of participants so that you can gain as much attention from the instructor as possible. This not only ensures that you are exercising safely, but also efficiently.

∫ Don't stress. The worst thing that you can do is too much all at once. Don't set yourself unrealistic expectations –- going to the gym five times a week may sound like a great idea, but how realistic is this? You not only put unnecesary pressure on yourself, but risk burnout which may cause injury or put you off exercising in the future. Why not incorporate some yoga or pilates into your training as well. Taking time out to stretch and strengthen your core muscles is essential to muscular health, and relaxation has been shown to improve mental health, resolve and will power.

You can make the decision to improve your health and fitness at any time of the year. Just follow my advice, and with a little bit of perseverance, you will soon look like my client who walked in this morning with a huge smile on his face and couldn't wait to get on the treadmill!

Anna Godfrey

wellbeing 24

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