I’m finding that my New Year’s resolutions are waning as we get into the
year. I made a resolution to join a gym and go five days a week and
lose 40 pounds by spring. The same thing happened last year, too. How
can I make my resolutions stick?

Forget the same old resolutions and following tabloid diets for major weight loss. The focus should be on lasting lifestyle changes rather than a number. People get lazy and frustrated this time of the year in the wake of lofty goals and rigid approaches that were established a month ago. Here are my surefire steps to actually stick to your fitness goals for 2011.

Set goals for yourself out of inspiration
Don’t set goals out of guilt or desperation after a night of indulgence on beer and bar food. Forget about being part of a trend just because it’s the style du jour.

Be specific
Vague generalizations like “I want to lose weight” will lead nowhere while “I’m going to take the 6 p.m. kick-boxing class on Monday and Wednesday” will get you closer to your goal.

Be realistic
Losing 40 pounds by April isn’t healthy. Break the larger end-goal into smaller, manageable ones. Set realistic, weekly goals within a healthy timeframe. Reaching these will motivate you toward the larger one.

Lose the rigidity
Extreme behavior changes such as cutting out all carbs or sugar don’t work. And such thinking promotes perfectionism, leading to a sabotage of efforts.

Know the difference
Make a distinction between feeding your body and feeding your emotions. Get to know the role your mind plays in your body. Depression, stress, anxiety and loneliness can all lead to unhealthy eating.

To make big changes, think small and keep it simple.
You don’t need expensive trainers and gyms. You do need support and something that won’t break your bank, so join a class or gather some friends who also want to get in shape. Take stairs instead of elevators; replace soda with water (with lemon); walk briskly for 15 minutes on your lunch break.