Now that the New Year is rolling, you are probably are ready to get going, or already have, on your “new” fitness habits. Perhaps you are inspired and motivated to lose some weight, tone up, or increase your endurance level. Most likely you dove right in to your workouts, returning or joining a gym or exercising at home.

As a gym person, every year I am always amazed by the number of packed parked cars I see outside the gym come every January. This is accompanied by long waits to get on cardio machines and doubling up to use the gym equipment. As weeks and months pass, the cars and people start to lessen. By early spring, all has returned to normal at the gym, meaning it’s just us diehard regulars coming for a good sweaty workout. The gung-ho others have either lost interest, gave up, or just couldn’t find the time anymore.

Setting your fitness goals is a commitment – a promise to yourself, that for a certain length of time or for an indefinite period of time – you are pledging to change and improve your current fitness routine with the goal of improving yourself physically to some compactly. While this may seem oblivious, a very large percent of those who start working out eventually find their enthusiasm waning as their goals get further and further away and they have settled back in their own previous lifestyle and routines.

So when setting your goals, make sure your goals are reasonable and that you have a specific plan to reach them followed by a realistic plan to achieve them. Be certain they are reachable to avoid frustration and disappointment down the road which may cause you to give up. Remember, altering your lifestyle can be challenging in the beginning, but this will pass after a period of adjustment.

A few of my own fitness goals for 2011 are to increase my endurance, tone and conditioning by adding new fitness classes and hiring a trainer to help me change up my own personal workout routines; be more diligent with my healthy eating habits, which will include eating a green salad daily as one of my meals; get a consistent 7-8 hours of sleep, 5 days a week; and to train and compete in a half marathon in addition to other running races and three triathlons after recovering from an injury in 2010.

The following are a few simple steps to help you stay on track with your fitness goals. 1) First, decide what you want for yourself and set specific fitness goal(s). 2) Next, write down your goals and begin keeping a log to keep track of your progress. 3) After getting the go-ahead from your physician, develop a plan of action. Decide what steps are necessary to achieve your fitness goals. 4) Remember to include your daily diet and sleep into your new routine. What you eat is 80 percent of your success rate. The other 20 percent is how you change your lifestyle to incorporate your new physical activities. 5) Finally, set realistic target dates with benchmark dates along the way.

Remember to be patient. Know that you will have good and bad days, and some days in between, but regardless you need to keep plugging away. Ask yourself, ‘how long did it take to become in the physical condition I am?’ Don’t expect overnight results. Your fitness goals will be obtainable not only with patience and perseverance, but with self-discipline and follow-through.

So get started today, if you haven’t already. Treat yourself to a new pair of sneakers and check out your local gym. There’s no better time like the present. So get out there! Maybe we’ll even bump paths!

Be Fit. Be Strong. Be Well.