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Your 6-week plan to making 2019 different: Here's how to get started

Many of us are still trying to get back into a routine so the firm advice this week is to be gentle with yourself: introduce fresh diet and exercise habits slowly. With that in mind, we've teamed up with WW for six weeks to bring you cutting-edge, practical advice on all the lifestyle tweaks that will help you glide back into 'those jeans', writes Denise Smith

It's January and your resolve to make exercise a part of your daily routine may waver, but you can train your brain to say 'yes' to exercise

The hardest part of any workout? Putting on your trainers. You know you have to do something, but actually doing it can take Herculean resolve. Until, that is, you learn a few tricks, which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) has the top get-started tips from experts in the know.

Make your own mantra

"I like, 'Even a world champion was a beginner once,'" says WW fitness expert Jennie Gadsby. "Getting started might seem scary, but I bet your first day at work was, too, and now you do that every day. And remember, no matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone who's sitting on the couch."

Learn as much as you can

"The more you read and learn about fitness and health, the more inspired you become," says James Trevorrow of Virgin Active. "Read one motivating article a week. Combine that with setting some realistic goals and soon, you'll have the mindset of a champion."

Think about the afterglow

"I try to remember how good I'll feel afterwards and use that to keep me motivated to start,' says Katie Bulmer-Cooke, former Apprentice star turned fitness trainer. 'There's no better mood boost than exercise and I think about how I always feel so much happier and more positive on the days I work out.'

Give yourself options

"If I'm not feeling motivated, I'll just work through my warm-up," says trainer Pierre Pozzuto. "Normally this is enough to inspire me to keep going, but if not, I'll swap my planned workout to do something I know I'll enjoy. For me, that's some mixed martial arts, but it could be a walk in the woods. No time you move is ever a waste of time."

Work the numbers

"Rate how much you want to exercise, from one to 10," advises Russ Harris, author of The Happiness Trap. "Unless you're feeling super-motivated, it's likely to be less than 10 out of 10. But even if it's a low figure, there must be reasons that got you there. If you're at, say, five, list the things that got you that far: one of them is sure to motivate you to head to the gym or out for a run."

Get a workout song

"I have a routine that gets me to my jujitsu class," says celebrity personal trainer Dalton Wong. "I take my favourite T-shirt to work, and don't check emails in the 30 minutes before leaving, in case they give me an excuse not to go. When I set off, I play my favourite workout song to get me in the mood."

While some people need some encouragement to kick off the new year with a hearty dollop of exercise, others simply don't have enough time in the day to schedule in a sweat session. If you're short on time but still fancy a HIIT session, here are some helpful tips below:

Plan regular screen breaks

Research has shown that physical activity at work can boost productivity - so not only could taking short, activity-filled screen breaks give your FitPoints a boost, you might get more work done, too. Instead of scrolling through your news feed, get moving for a few minutes every hour or so. You could take a quick walk around the building, walk the long way to the photocopier, or use the loos or meeting rooms on another floor to clock up extra steps.

Make use of wasted time

Time to kill between meetings? Stuck on hold? Use this 'wasted time' as an opportunity for a little burst of activity. If you can't get out, and need some totally undetectable exercise (we promise!) try some 'deskercise' tips. Work your tummy by taking a deep breath in and pulling your abs towards your spine as you slowly exhale for 5-10 seconds.

For a great bottom toner, clench your bum cheeks tight and hold for 5-10 seconds. Try repeating both exercises 10 times, and do as many sets as you can before you have to get back to it.

Hold a standing meeting

Sitting for prolonged periods can have detrimental effects on your health - it can lead to bad posture, muscular imbalances, and even increased risk of cardiovascular disease. So whenever you can, stand up!

Try working at a standing desk, or hold a standing meeting - it will not only cut the amount of your time sitting, but make others more alert and attentive, resulting in shorter meetings - bonus!

Activate your social life

No time for exercise, but always time for cocktails? Use your social life as an opportunity to get active. Instead of meeting friends for happy hour or brunch, meet at a park and go for a power walk first - 30 minutes could earn you 3 FitPoints!

HOW TO GET STARTED

Getting out and about in the fresh air is great for your mind, as well as your body - and it's easy on your wallet, too.

While an aerobics class is good fun, there are major health benefits to getting fit in the great outdoors. Research shows exercising outside not only means you get fitter, it can give your mood a boost, too. Try these ideas for size:

1. Strolling up and down hills will give your heart, lungs and legs a good workout. The uneven ground also forces you to use your core muscles, so you get a toned tummy, too.

2. Walk the dog, or borrow a neighbour's pooch. Dog owners tend to be more active and more sociable, which helps fight stress.

3. Dig out your bike and use it to travel to work, or the station. Not only will you get fit, you could save money on petrol and train fares.

4. Join a local walking group to discover unknown beauty spots. You'll learn a lot, make friends and hit your exercise targets.

5. Wild swimming - in a lake, river or the sea - is becoming more popular. Search online to see if there's a safe spot near you.

6. Check out your local team-sport clubs, such as netball or football, as these are likely to have outdoor training areas.

Online Editors