You can nail your fitness goals – even if you’ve fallen short in the past. Ready for a fresh start at success? Try these tips.

Make your goals matter

Choose a fitness goal that is meaningful to you. Say you want to lose ten pounds or run a 10- minute mile. Don’t stop with what you want to do, make your goal matter by identifying why you want to do it. When you can identify with the why, the how is often easier. These questions can help you understand why.

  • How will achieving your goal make your life different or better?
  • What will be the reward?
  • How will you feel when you accomplish your goal?
  • Why does accomplishing your goal matter?

Be realistic

There is a proverb that advises eating the elephant one bite at a time. Let’s use the goal of losing ten pounds. It probably isn’t realistic to say you will do it in three weeks. But maybe you can lose ten pounds in six or eight weeks. Choose a goal that is a bit of a stretch, but realistic. Aiming for a goal you can’t possibly meet means sure failure and paralyzing discouragement. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve better.

Resolve to commit and not quit

You have to put in work. There are no magic wands. Decide what you will do and keep your promise to yourself. Be specific with your promise. Here are some examples:

  • I will walk for 30 minutes on Sunday morning, Wednesday and Friday evenings.
  • I will eat 7 servings of fruits and/or vegetables each day.
  • I will hire a trainer by the end of the month.
  • I will find a workout buddy within two weeks.

Be accountable

Make your promise public. Tell your workout buddy or your Facebook friends about your weekly workout plans. Ask people to check on your progress and cheer you on. Keep a fitness diary and log your workouts.

Pay attention to benefits along the way

You don’t have to wait until you lose ten pounds to celebrate. There are lots of benefits to being more active. For example, you may notice after a few weeks of exercise that you have more energy or feel less stressed. Take time to smell the roses along the way to your goal.

Be patient with yourself

Expect bad days and setbacks. They happen to everyone and are not a reason to give up or abandon your goals. Tweak, adjust where you need to, rest and begin again…as many times as you need to.