If a recent survey of 1,000 Australians is anything to go by, we’re not very good at sticking to our New Year’s resolutions. According to the survey conducted on behalf of pharmaceutical company Pfizer, an estimated 69% of the focus group made resolutions, but less than a quarter actually stuck to them.

Did you resolve to exercise more in 2014? As the New Year picks up speed, take inspiration from the well-disciplined Olympic athletes currently participating in the Games.

Did you know?

    • An Olympic athlete can spend 8 hours a day, 7 days per week training.

    • Most competitors wake up at 4:30am and are at the track, field or pool by 5am.

    • Some only finish training at 10pm at night.

    • Many of these athletes also juggle work, home and studies with their training.

    • Most of them don’t just train for their specific sport. Training can also include weights, aerobics, ballet and Pilates in one day.

    • Olympic athletes are also very strict about what, how much and when to eat.

This begs the question: how do these top sportsmen and women stick to such tight schedules and rigorous exercise programmes – and how can you emulate their determination?

In the lead-up to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the US Olympic sailing team trained for two days straight under the guidance of the country’s navy SEAL academy. If you’ve seen G.I. Jane, you’ll have an idea of what they endured.

But you’re not working towards an Olympic event, nor do you have a gold, silver or bronze medal in mind. You simply want to stick to your weekly exercise programme.

Where to start

According to Stew Smith, a graduate of the US Naval Academy, and a former Navy SEAL, the following five points are a sure-fire way to stay motivated:

1.Acknowledge and get it over with

Write your training sessions down in your calendar. It’s simple: if your workout isn’t in your schedule, it doesn’t exist.

Before you do anything else for the day, get to your workout – either early morning before work or school, or immediately after.

2. Get down with it

Set your favourite music to wake you up in the morning, and listen to music during your workout. It helps the time fly by and really gets you going to the beat. If you really struggle to wake up in the morning, record yourself saying: "Hey, get your lazy behind up and into the gym – now!"

3. Name it and tame it

Write down your exercise goal and pin it up around the house, inside your locker at the gym, and at school or on your desk at work.

4. Have a workout partner

It’s a great way of being held accountable and isn’t as costly as hiring a fitness instructor. The two of you can encourage each other on off days – it’s unlikely that you both won’t feel like exercising on the same day.

5. Change it up

Avoid doing the same exercises week after week – you’ll simply become bored and your body won’t respond to it in the same way it did right at the beginning. Balance your routine with a variation of weights, calisthenics, spinning and aerobics, or other forms of exercise.

REMEMBER: Hard work wins every time. Stew has a last bit of advice: whenever you feel a lack of motivation setting in, ask yourself, “Are you a wanna-be, or a gonna-be?”

Image via Thinkstock