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by our Editor
Nelly Morrison

Did you make it to the gym tonight? Or did you end up sipping wine and smoking a ciggie in the pub? You might be among friends. A massive 40-50% of gym members drop out in the first year. Most of those go missing in the first 6-8 weeks.

How are you going to overcome the inner slug? Well here are some tips that might help:

1. Convince yourself that it's cheaper and better than therapy and that you're going to feel brilliant (and smug) once you've finished.

2. Wear really flattering kit so that you don't look like a crumpled, anaemic sausage. If you look good it will encourage you to go back.

3. Set yourself short-term goals so that you always feel as if you're achieving something.

4. Vary your workouts. Don't stick to the same 'twenty minutes of this', 'thirty reps of that' routine for each visit or you'll quickly become bored and start to dread how much more of the workout there is to do. Also, your body will get used to it and start to burn fewer calories. Do some of the classes that the gym provides, like Pilates, jazz dance or Tai Chi and stimulate your mind as well as pushing your body.

5. Don't wash your hair if you're going out afterwards, then you'll have to go to the gym to have a shower and once there you might as well exercise!

6. If you have arranged to meet a girlfriend, arrange for her to have a guest pass and BOTH of you do a workout.

7. Make it a mission statement: keep a chart where you can see it and give yourself a star every time you go. Stick pictures of your dream body - whether it be Cindy Crawford or Helena Christiansen - or parts of your dream body on it. Use these pictures to remind you of what you are achieving every time you earn a star.

8. Take advantage of the other services the gym has to offer; book a manicure or pedicure for after your workout, or a session with a personal trainer.

9. Do it with a friend. Challenge each other and support each other when one of you strays.

10. Find a project that will keep you going. Enter a charity challenge race and get sponsored so that it's not only you that you're doing it for.

11. Don't beat yourself up about it. Remind yourself that recovery days are just as important as exercise days. If you really don't want to go, you don't have to. You can start again tomorrow.

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