The New Year is here and that means the flood of “New Year, New Me” posts have already begun. With so many people offering their own advice on how to achieve your fitness resolutions, we thought that we would take a different approach. We sat down with our Fitness Director, Jim Cotta to get some tips on how to tackle the biggest problem facing those who are trying to stay on track with their fitness goals—motivation.

Put your workouts on your calendar.If you are trying to get in 3 workouts during the week then put it down in your appointment book or phone calendar with the exact time and day.That way you can schedule it on days when you know you have the time. Don’t be afraid to schedule a workout on the weekend if you know your weekdays are busy.

Schedule a workout with a friend.This is a great way to stay motivated.We tend not to skip a workout if we know that a friend is waiting for us.

At the gym do the exercises you dislike first.When at the fitness center we tend to gravitate towards the exercises that we like but those aren’t always the ones we need the most.If you are trying to lose weight and running is the best thing for you, then do it first. If you are trying to get your legs stronger, then do squats and lunges first.

Set a very specific goal.Maybe it is drop 5 pounds, bench press 200 lbs, or run a mile in 9 minutes. Whatever it is, make it very specific. People who show up at the gym and say I want to get in better shape tend to lose motivation. Set a short-term goal and work hard at getting there, then set another short-term goal.

Sign up for a race.Maybe it’s a 5K, a bike ride, ½ marathon, or a short triathlon. When we commit to a race of some sort, it will always motivate us to stay on track with our workout plan.

Schedule a trip to the beach.The thought of getting into (or not being able to fit) your bathing suit always seems to get people motivated.

Place a wager with a friend.If you are trying to lose weight place a little money on the line with a friend and go after it. Nothing motivates people like money and bragging rights.

Jim Cotta is a renowned fitness and conditioning coach with 20+ years of experience. Mr. Cotta served as the Los Angeles Lakers Strength and Conditioning Coach for 7 years and has trained professional athletes such as Shaquille O’Neal, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Dennis Rodman, Mitch Richmond, and Eddie Jones. Interested in more Fitness and Wellness tips? Be sure to pick up Jim Cotta’s Book “Workout War