We’ve all had that sudden burst of energy after the holiday season where we rehash that age-old resolution of getting in shape. We dust off the nearest exercise apparatus and “work out” indiscriminately until we’re too exhausted to go on.

Unfortunately, the event becomes an anomaly, rearing its head only briefly every year. It’s not a lack of effort; for most of us, it just fails to become routine. Fortunately, sticking to a resolution is within your power — you just have to go about it the right way.

Here, six ways to lock in your fitness goals.

1. Make it non-negotiable

Exercise isn’t easy, and even the most committed gym-goer finds it difficult to develop a fitness routine at first. According to a 2017 GoodLife poll, the majority of long-term members owe their success to making fitness a non-negotiable part of their schedule. Think of your daily exercise routine as paid work only to be missed due to illness or injury. Eventually, the daily task will become less daunting and more rewarding.

2. Cut the calories

Results are what keep us motivated. To achieve those results, exercise must be combined with a supportive diet. According to the Harvard Medical School, a daily 30-minute walk combined with a reduction of 250 calories a day would result in a loss of one pound in just over a week.

3. Walk the line

You can start out with something as easy as walking. If the brisk Canadian winter isn’t appealing, a treadmill or a shopping mall is an option.

4. Protect against injury

Nothing is more discouraging than an injury early on in your new workout routine. So take some time to warm up before you begin. The Harvard Medical School recommends a five-minute warm up and cool down, even for less strenuous exercises such as walking.

5. Put it to paper

Plan each workout and record your results in a journal. This will provide structure and can reveal improvements in strength, flexibility and endurance that can be just as encouraging as weight loss.

6. Bring a friend

Exercising and eating healthier is easier with company. Start your healthier 2020 with a spouse or friend. Not only will you hold one another accountable, you’ll likely rid yourself of potential saboteurs. And if you’re the type that loathes exercise, you’ll welcome the distraction of a companion.

Did you know?

  • There are 3, 500 calories stored in a pound of body fat.
  • Walking or jogging uses roughly 100 calories per mile, which means you can lose a pound for every extra 35 miles you walk.
  • By cutting 250 calories a day from your diet, you would lose a pound in two weeks.
  • Pairing a reduction in calories with exercise maximizes results.

(Stats courtesy of Harvard Medical School)