ONE OF the most popular and inevitable New Year resolutions is to get fit after several weeks of festive overindulgence. The problem, of course, is that many people end up abandoning such a resolution after just a few weeks, whether due to lack of confidence, motivation, time or a combination of these and other factors.

By getting fit, you’ll not only look and feel better, but may also want to take further steps, perhaps even looking into personal trainers to really push you on to the next level.

But if you’re trying to get properly fit for the first time, what is the best advice that we can give you?

Avoid the most common fitness mistakes

It’s perfectly understandable that you may be intimidated by the thought of walking into the gym and looking like a beginner. However, by familiarising yourself with certain common mistakes, you can quickly get on with that all-important workout.

Many people, for example, will only warm themselves up with a jog, even though they’d be best served by spending ten minutes on the rower or treadmill before undertaking various bodyweight squats, twists, bends and lunges. This can then be followed by one set with very light weights. You’ll also need to determine, by trial and error, the most appropriate weight for you. Use a variety of moves if you are to see continued positive results for your fitness.

Rapidly and safely achieve your fitness goals

You won’t get the most out of exercise unless you do it properly, and that means that you’ll need to constantly maintain good form. Although form is different from one exercise to another, it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid jerky movements and brace your core to lessen the chances of injury.

Nor should you entirely depend on gym machines, as these restrict your range of movement, locking you into a single plane of motion. Free weights like barbells and dumb-bells, meanwhile, hit your muscles from different angles. This helps to maximise their growth potential. You’ll also more effectively train your whole body if you incorporate plenty of compound moves, like barbell squats, into your workout.

Achieving the right diet and psychology

Of course, there’s more to getting fit in 2013 than simply making constant gym visits. That’s because you’ll also need to educate yourself on such aspects as nutrition, tailored to your individual needs. A high level of motivation will also be necessary – and if it’s lacking, why not plan gym visits with friends so that you are under more pressure not to let anybody down with your absence?