By Boko Suzuki, N.A.S.M., C.H.E.K. and Z-Health certified personal trainer

  1. Start with Why. What I’ve learned from hundreds and hundreds of fitness consultations is that the number one reason people fail to reach their fitness goals is not clearly identifying why they want to get fit. I suggest making a list of several reasons why you want to get fit and then read the list to yourself to identify the one that really matters to you. You might be surprised.
  2. Set yourself two goals. Yup, just two. First, set a long range, best case scenario goal and don’t set yourself any limits or time frame. It can be doing a pullup or entering the Olympics but it should be something that really means something to you. Next, set yourself a small, doable goal. Use the “floss one tooth” principle: if you make your goal really small you’ll probably not only meet but also exceed it. Think something like five minutes of cardio or three pushups. Focus on getting to your small goal, then set another and focus on that. If you reach enough small goals you may find yourself getting closer to your big one.
  3. Get help. I don’t mean start therapy, unless that’s one of your goals. I mean get expert advice. And by expert advice, I mean find the most experienced and well qualified fitness professional you can and get some personalized guidance. You only have one body so imagine you needed to find a qualified surgeon; hopefully you wouldn’t just go with the first one you find. Do a little research, talk to other clients, ask your fitness professional lots of questions. A little time and effort in finding the right guide can be the difference between finding a successful fitness program or continuing to struggle.
  4. Accept the ups and downs.So many people start a fitness program but something derails them; an illness, a family matter, work pressure, travel. If your program doesn’t allow for interruptions or missed workouts, you’ll quit at the first disruption. Accept that you’ll have good days and bad days, missed workouts or even missed weeks. But if you take the mindset that every step you take, every small effort you make (uh, oh – I feel a Police song coming on) gets you that much closer to your goal, you have a much higher probability of success.
  5. Embrace the process. Goals are great but at the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy the process you’ll probably fall short of your goals. Everyone wants to be a great musicians or athlete but almost no one wants to put in the practice it takes to get there. Something I’ve observed in every great musician or athlete I’ve ever met is that they enjoythe process. They play their sport or their instrument with the same passion whether there are 20,000 people or nobody watching. So find the fitness program you enjoy, the one that inspires and excites you. If you hate running, that’s not going to be the program that works for you. If it’s not running maybe it’s kickboxing. Or dancing. Or power lifting. Whatever it is, once you find it I promise you that you’ll not only achieve great things but you’ll look forward to every day in getting there.