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How to actually nail your workout goals in 2024: 5 effective exercise tips to follow

Don't quit before January is up

man doing push up exercise

Regarding New Year’s resolutions, working out is probably one of the most common goals. However, the gyms will be sparse and empty by January’s end. While the new year’s motivation is an excellent push for starting your goals, there is much more behind it to ensure that motivation lasts the entire year. Consistency is vital if you want to nail your workout goals, as it will get your body used to your exercise routine until it becomes second nature. However, many will give up quickly before they reach this point due to a lack of strategy and mindset. 

According to Ohio State University’s Fisher School of Business, only 9% of Americans will successfully achieve their New Year’s resolutions, and an overwhelming 43% will quit by the end of January. If working out is on your list for the New Year, you need to set yourself up to become part of the 9% that can reach their workout goals. And while there are plenty of fitness tips out there that can help you perfect your form and increase your stamina, there’s plenty of work that needs to be done outside of the gym to help make your goals come true. 

man holding dumbells in workout
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What’s your end fitness goal?

It’s a known fact that working out is essential for a healthier physical and mental life. However, this fact might not be enough for everyone to get to the gym. If you want any goal to succeed, you must give yourself a ‘why.’ Your ‘why’ or end goal is the motivating factor for your workout goal and will provide you with the extra push to continue. If you want to live healthier, remember how working out can help you live longer and feel better. 

If you want to reach a healthy weight, remind yourself that you don’t feel like working out on those days. While establishing that working out is your goal for 2024, it’s only a starting point for your ultimate end goal. 

weight scale
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Be specific

Although it’s easy to say you want to work out more in 2024, you’ll have to get much more specific to ensure its longevity. Once you know that working out is one of your goals for 2024, the next step is to get more specific. Techniques like the SMART method will help double down on your goals to ensure they’re clear and detailed enough to guide you throughout the year. The SMART method stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relatable, and Time-Bound. Answering these points will give you a better layout of how you’ll ensure you don’t give up on your goals after the first week. 

Instead of simply stating, “I want to work out more in 2024,” be specific about what you want to do. Identify if you want to go to the gym more often, take a group class, or go on walks or runs; these specific descriptions will make your goal clearer and easier to follow. To measure your workouts, opt for a goal that’s easy to check. If you want to move more, opt to work out a specific number of times a week. You can also measure any lost fat or muscle gained as a benchmark you can keep track of. Any goal you establish should be able to be checked throughout your process. 

These goals should be realistic for your lifestyle and easily achievable. If you’re beginning your fitness journey, you may want to set a lower goal to not overwhelm yourself. Setting attainable benchmarks helps keep you motivated to achieve your goals. Another factor to establish is your time limit. If losing weight is part of your workout goal, you’ll need to set an end date to make it even more motivating as the year progresses.

man playing video game
Samuel Regan Asante/Unsplash / Unsplash

Use the rewards method

The human brain can be overcomplicated, but there’s one silver lining to how most humans think. Naturally, everyone enjoys a good reward or treat. This reward allows us to rework our brains to help us get to where we want to go, as long as we have an exciting reward. While working out helps increase dopamine levels and make you feel better, this feeling might not be enough to motivate you to stick to your workout goals. 

Using the rewards method helps trick your brain into reminding itself that something good will happen every time you finish your workout routine. This treat can look different to everyone, depending on your interests. For some, a good reward could be watching an episode of your favorite TV series post-workout. You could also reward yourself after having completed a specific amount of sessions every week or month. Any reward that helps you feel motivated to work out will ultimately get you closer to continuing your fitness goals throughout the year.

man looking in mirror, weight training
Anastase Maragos/Unsplash / Unsplash

Start with your mindset

Before stepping into the gym or lifting a dumbbell, you must have the right mindset. One of the reasons many New Year’s resolutions fall flat before January is over is the lack of perspective when it comes to our fitness goals. 

As Columbia University’s School of Psychiatry explains, one of the reasons we falter on our goals is because we are focusing on everything we are giving up or the cons of our goals. If your 2024 workout goal involves reducing your TV time for an hour of working out, it can be easy to say to yourself, “Just one more episode,” the next thing you know, it’s bedtime. 

Instead of focusing on the negatives, switch your mindset to focusing on your why and the positives of your goal. When you feel ready to forgo your workout session, ask yourself why you implemented your fitness goal. Perhaps you want to live a healthier lifestyle because of underlying issues, or you have an important event you want to lose weight for. Either way, reframing your mindset around your goals will make getting off the couch or bed and heading to your workout session easier.

man in exercise class with others

Opt for workouts you know you’ll love

Let’s face it- not everyone enjoys cardio workouts or HIIT exercise. While some enjoy the thrill of an intense and sweaty workout, others want something that disguises the intensity a bit more and lets you have fun. The best way to follow through on your fitness goals for the year is to choose workout regimes you’ll enjoy. Working out doesn’t necessarily need to happen at the gym or the track; you can choose fun ways to get in your fitness minutes, such as dancing, ballet, sports, or even just walking. 

Any fitness class that involves an activity or movement you’ll enjoy makes it much more likely that you will continue it throughout the year as you no longer see it as a dreaded task. Not only are these activities fun, but they can help you achieve much more stamina than you thought you could at the gym or treadmill. For music and podcast fans, workout time is the perfect time to indulge in your favorite songs or episodes that’ll make time fly even faster. 

If sports is your thing, opt for meetups or amateur clubs to help you socialize with others with similar interests while getting a fun weekly workout.

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Leslie Leon
Leslie is a Los Angeles-based writer and content creator. She is always researching and finding the latest fashion trends…
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