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April is the New January: 5 Steps to Help You Achieve Your 2016 Fitness Goals

I've decided that April is the new January. The start of a new year is always full of pressure to make big changes and "become a better you", all whilst nursing your post-Christmas food baby and desperately trying to ignore the empty pit that is your bank balance. Never mind the dreadful weather and the plague of cold and flu lurgy flying around - January sucks, February is only marginally better and then sneaky old March turns up with that Easter weekend and Mini Eggs become a major food group. April though, has brought with it lighter evenings, a hint of sunshine and for me, a great big boost of motivation.

If you've hit April and you're yet to actually use that shiny new gym membership, or the novelty of those 6am runs you promised you'd do daily has worn off - don't beat yourself up. April is the new January and with the increased daylight hours and the faint promise of Spring in the air, it's the perfect time to make a fresh start - it's never too late to start working towards your goals.

5 Steps to Help You Achieve Your 2016 Fitness Goals

1) Reassess your goals
When it comes to fitness, having a specific goal in mind can be a great way to stay motivated. Whether it's improving your 5k time or just making it to the gym at least twice a week - have something in mind that you'd like to achieve and start taking small steps towards it. Divide your end goal into three - focusing on the short term, the medium term and the long term. Starting with a huge, unmanageable goal can leave you feeling overwhelmed and demotivated. Splitting it up into manageable chunks gives you something attainable to aim towards and you'll get a nice big hit of satisfaction every time you hit one of your targets.

2) Rethink your motivation
Improving your health, fitness and wellbeing is such a positive thing, so your motivation should be positive too. This is about empowering yourself, not punishing yourself. Exercise to get fitter and stronger, to see what that amazing body of yours can do. Push yourself towards your goal because you deserve to achieve it.

3) Stop comparing yourself to others
Your goals are about you, not anyone else and comparing your progress to others can be toxic. We're all different and we all adapt and progress at different rates - trust me, you're doing just fine.

4) Make it fun
The best way to stay motivated is to do something that puts a smile on your face. Started 2016 with high hopes of running a marathon only to discover that you absolutely loathe running? No sweat, find something you enjoy - whether that's shaking your thing in a zumba class or bench pressing away in the free weights section. You're doing this for you, so do more of what makes you happy.

5) Be proud of yourself
It's so easy to get bogged down in what you haven't achieved, what you can't do yet and how far you've still got to go. If I had a penny for every time I've had a little strop whilst out on a run because I don't think I'm doing well enough, I'd be rolling around in a sea of 1 pence pieces. I speak from experience when I say that beating yourself up will get you nowhere. Focus on the positives rather than burying yourself in negatives. Take a step back and look at what you have achieved. Give yourself a pat on the back - you're out there doing it and that's the most important thing.

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