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Four steps to help you stick to your fitness resolution this new year

It's a recurring theme for many of us: We make a New Year's resolution to get fit with every intention of keeping that resolution throughout the coming year - only...

It's a recurring theme for many of us: We make a New Year's resolution to get fit with every intention of keeping that resolution throughout the coming year - only to have our efforts fall by the wayside before Valentine's Day arrives. In fact, nearly two thirds of Americans who make New Year's resolutions have set fitness goals as part of their resolutions, according to a survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Bodybuilding.com, the world's leading online fitness resource. Of those, nearly three quarters (73 percent) have given up before they achieved their goal, the survey found.

'A commitment to fitness is a worthy goal, which is why so many of us make that resolution to improve our health each year,' says Jamie Eason, Bodybuilding.com athlete and trainer. 'The trick is to stay on track with the right combination of exercise, nutrition and support.'

Whether you want to lose weight, build muscle, improve your overall fitness or train for a specific athletic event, life presents many stumbling blocks to achieving your fitness goals, including: difficulty following a diet or workout regimen (cited by 42 percent of people who have set fitness resolutions), inability to get back on track once you fall off the wagon (38 percent), and lack of time (36 percent).

Eason offers some advice for staying on track with your fitness goals this year:

1. Set achievable goals - Everyone wants to reach for the stars, but it's vital that you make your goals attainable. Setting a goal that is too far out of reach can mean setting yourself up for failure and discouragement. Instead, consider breaking your long-term goal (for example, losing 50 pounds) into smaller, achievable interim goals (losing 10 pounds in four weeks). Achieving that smaller goal will be a great motivator to continue striving toward your long-term goal.

2. Have a plan - A balance of diet and exercise will be essential to achieving your fitness goals. You'll need to design a training program and a diet plan that can help you get there. Websites like Bodybuilding.com can be a great resource for training programs from experts that include specific workouts, nutrition, diet and supplement recommendations.

3. Get support - Having someone or something hold you accountable can help ensure that you reach your goals. Almost one-third of Americans with fitness goals say that following someone who is fit via a social network would help motivate them to become fit. Fortunately, it's easier than ever to find advice, information and a supportive community thanks to the Internet. The social and interactive nature of a site like BodySpace.com, the world's largest health and fitness social network, allows you to get support and fitness tips from a wide variety of people who share your goals. You can even celebrate your successes with your online peers for an extra dose of motivation.

4. Get challenged - A challenge can be both a motivator and its own reward. By signing up for Bodybuilding.com's $100,000 Transformation Challenge, you can help yourself overcome common challenges to achieving your New Year's fitness resolutions, and have a chance at some great rewards. Anyone 18 and older in the U.S. can register for free online until Jan. 31, 2013. After signing up, participants can choose to follow one of the website's 12-week training programs, which provide highly detailed workouts, diet recommendations and expert advice to set you up for success. In May, judges will select one grand prize winner, based on the greatest physical improvement (fat lost or muscle gained), and how they achieved their goals based on a final BodyBlog post on BodySpace.com. The winner will receive $50,000 and a variety of other prizes, including a $2,000 Bodybuilding.com gift certificate and a one-year gym membership.

'A shared challenge is a great way to ensure that you follow through with your New Year's fitness resolution,' Eason says. 'The Bodybuilding.com program, the exercise and diet advice, the tracking and the resources are as close as you can get to having a personal trainer and nutritionist. The online community helps motivate people to stay on track and achieve their fitness goals.'

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