Did you indulge a little too much over the holidays? Of course you did. After all, that is what the holidays are all about—good food and fun with family and friends. And now you’re feeling a few extra pounds. Don’t fret, a new year is perfect for resolutions. Come  Jan. 1, you will eat healthier and work out—you will get fit.

About one third of all New Year’s resolvers make weight loss their primary goal, and about 15 percent aim to begin an exercise program, suggests a small study by John C. Norcross, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Scranton.

With all these fitness resolutions—as noble as they are—only a few are actually achieved. So how do you go from saying you will get fit to actually setting and accomplishing your fitness goals for the coming months?

First: Having the right mindset is important for success. Winners always believe their goals are possible and within reach. So set goals that are realistic and attainable, simple at first, and progress from there as you attain them. Think positive and remember you need to walk before you can run.

Second: Develop a support system for your fitness goals—whether it is hiring a personal trainer to help guide you through a fitness program, getting a workout partner or simply telling family and friends of your goals. A good support system will help keep you on track and increase your likelihood of success.

Third: Reward yourself for your accomplishments, such as a well-deserved massage after a good workout or a healthy, satisfying meal. By associating rewards with accomplishments you create positive support for reaching your goals.

Four: Write goals down and keep records as you achieve them. After writing them down, place it where you will see it daily. Writing goals down makes them official. When goals are made official, we increase the likelihood that we will follow through with them.

Five: Keep track of your progress daily. If you don’t, you won’t progress. Achieving goals takes steps, one at a time, day after day. If done daily, goals can turn into habits.

So let’s make 2008 a memorable year by setting and keeping fitness goals. And don’t get disillusioned—remember, with the right mindset and the implementation of a few key principles, your goals are attainable.

Billy Katz and Hudson Ellis are
the co-owners of Simply Fit gyms, located throughout the
New Orleans area. Please email your health and fitness questions to health@saintcharlesavenue.com.