Have you completely fallen off the wagon when it comes to your fitness goals? You’re not alone. Statistics show that 80 percent of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions by the second week of February. Life gets busy, excuses start to creep in, and before you know it you’re back to spending your days binge-watching TV with a bag of chips in your lap.

Luckily, you don’t need a New Year to recommit to a healthy lifestyle. Summer is right around the corner, so the time is now. Making change is never easy, but neither is living a life of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. Here are 13 tips to help you kick yourself back into gear and recommit to being your very best self.

1. Start Off in Your Comfort Zone

While some people are inspired by a big challenge, most of us will come up with excuses if pushed too hard. Instead of coming up with something new to do, take yourself back to the tried and true. If you enjoy running, make that the basis for your fitness commitment. If not, then skip it.

Do you prefer weight training, aerobics, swimming, or boot camp? Then go with it!

If fitness hasn’t been a big part of your life, start off small. Pick up a fitness tracker and aim for a certain number of steps each day. Although 10,000 steps is the “rule of thumb” for fitness, there’s no reason that has to be your initial goal. Find something you don’t hate and commit to doing it consistently. It’s really that simple.

2. Think Outside the Box

Once you’ve gotten used to moving regularly and sticking with your goals, you can start experimenting with different types of exercise. Try to find things that don’t feel like a workout, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Stand-up paddleboard
  • Kickboxing
  • Bootcamp
  • Yoga
  • Indoor mountain climbing
  • Geocaching
  • Martial arts

Want something even more eccentric? Look for classes like aerial yoga, pole fitness, goat yoga, Barre, parkour, or rhythmic drumming workouts. There’s always new fitness trends coming around, so keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to try something new.

3. Make Your Fitness Commitment Fun

No matter what type of exercise you’ve chosen, look for ways to make it fun. Take your dog with you on your evening run, crank up your favorite playlist, or walk to your local watering hole. Just because you’re moving doesn’t mean it has to feel like exercise.

Ditch the treadmill and opt for a scenic hike or watch your favorite TV show and do squats during every commercial. Make staying active a fun part of your life, and you’re far more likely to stick with it.

4. Choose the Right Time of Day

The best time of day for a workout is the one you’ll stick with. Fighting your body’s natural inclinations just puts one more barrier in the way.

If you’re not a morning person, don’t try to force yourself into a 5 a.m. boot camp. If you find yourself making excuses all day and skipping your evening workouts, change it up. You may have to rely on trial and error until you find what works best for you. If you find that you’re not working out during your planned times, take a step back and evaluate what’s going on.

5. Never Miss a Chance for a Workout

If you’re going to work out at the gym, make sure it’s conveniently located near your home or on your way home from work. Even if the gym across town is nicer, a long commute is just one more excuse.

If you can afford it, buy a second gym bag so you always have one packed and ready to go. Some of the things you’ll want to keep on hand include:

  • Gym clothes (top, bottom, sports bra, socks)
  • Sneakers
  • Towel
  • Water bottle
  • Earbuds
  • Padlock (if going to a public gym)

If you’ll be venturing outdoors, don’t forget to throw some sunscreen in your bag. Keep your bag and any accessories needed for your exercise of choice (like a yoga mat or boxing gloves) in the trunk of your car. You never know when the urge or opportunity will strike, and if you’re prepared you can take advantage of it when it does.

6. Find (or Ditch) a Workout Buddy

Finding a partner to keep you accountable and make things more fun is one of the best ways to stick to your fitness goals. On days you just aren’t into it, you’re more likely to go anyway if you know somebody’s waiting for you. Watching one another’s progress and giving encouraging words along the way will take you much further than trying to go it alone.

There is one caveat to this suggestion, however. If you tend to be a loner, adding another person to the mix can actually make things more stressful. This is especially true if you use your buddy as an excuse or distraction. If your friend is consistently late, skipping workouts, or giving you excuses to skip yours, it might be time to try flying solo.

7. Connect with Your “Why”

There will be days when you just don’t want to do it anymore. These are the days that you hear the couch calling your name and wonder why you really need to be in shape anyway. These are the Taco Tuesdays when you’re already exhausted from the work-week and margaritas and a burrito sound way better than sweating it out at the gym. When this happens — and it will — you must dig deep and remember why you started in the first place.

Keep a list somewhere. Whether it’s a piece of paper you keep on your fridge, on an app in your phone, or a Pinterest board, write down all the reasons you want to get active and stay healthy. When things get tough, go back through your list and refocus on your “why.”

8. Refuse to Negotiate

Sticking to your goals begins with a real decision and a refusal to negotiate. You can’t sort-of decide you’re doing it… unless you’re tired, or you’re too busy working, or it’s raining.

Once you’ve truly decided, nothing should get in your way. When that little voice shows up telling you that you can just go tomorrow, or start over next week, or that you don’t really need to do what you had planned, you must silence it with your determination. Decide, with conviction, that you’re not skipping your workouts because that’s not the kind of person you are anymore. Once this mind shift occurs, the results are profound.

9. Don’t be a Slave to the Scale

The scale is a big, fat, liar, and it’s not your friend. Step on it occasionally, if you must, but take the results with a grain of salt. There are so many things that influence your day-to-day weight fluctuations, the scale is truly not a good measure of your progress.

It is important to pay attention to how your body is changing, but there are far better ways to do it. Look for non-scale victories (NSV) like your clothes fitting better, having more energy, or the fact that you can finally see your cheekbones.

10. Take Progress Pictures

Sometimes these changes are hard to see when you look in the mirror every day. Taking progress pictures will help. It’s likely to feel uncomfortable the first time you do it, but it’s one of the absolute best ways to see your progress.

When you’re feeling down and wondering if what you’re doing is worth it, take some pictures and compare them to where you started. Nine times out of ten, the difference will be far more noticeable than you expected. This is a great way to give yourself the boost you need to get back on track.

11. Track Your Progress

We improve what we measure. Whether it’s inches, body fat, or the number of times you meet your workout goals, choose at least one benchmark as a way to keep yourself accountable. How far you take this really depends on your personality type. Some people thrive on tracking every little detail. Apps like MyFitnessPal make it easy to keep track of every calorie you put into your mouth, plus workouts and measurements. Others may find it’s easier to buy a packet of stickers and put one on the calendar for each day you work out.

If you’re more of a free spirit who doesn’t want to get tied down, pick one day a month to do measurements and leave it at that. Whatever works for you is fine, but definitely pick something. Tracking your progress not only offers encouragement when you feel like giving up, it also allows you to see when things aren’t working so you can make adjustments along the way if needed.

12. Keep a Journal

A huge part of physical fitness takes place within your mind. There’s a strong connection between taking the time to explore your thoughts and having success with your fitness goals. Setting aside as little as 10 minutes to journal each day allows you to examine your feelings without judgment.

This often leads to noticing behavior patterns and becoming aware of things you may be doing to sabotage yourself. Sometimes it works as a self-guided pep-talk. Other times it’s your opportunity to vent and complain without having to inconvenience others. Getting the negativity out of your mind is the first step to releasing it and moving on.

13. Reward Yourself

When your ultimate goal seems unattainable, it’s easy to feel frustrated and give up. Keep yourself motivated by setting smaller goals and rewarding yourself along the way. Here are some fun ideas to inspire you:

  • Buy yourself a new pair of shoes for every 10 pounds you lose
  • Book a massage if you follow your workout schedule for a month
  • Cook your meals at home and set aside the money you saved for a weekend getaway

Make sure the goals you choose are attainable and your planned rewards are fun. Try to avoid using a cheat day as your reward, as that can start you on a downward spiral.

Some Final Thoughts

The most important thing to remember is that the path to success is never a straight line. Life happens sometimes. If you want to succeed, you have to give up on the idea of everything being perfect.

Life is a journey, and we’re all just doing the best we can. When you stumble, refuse to stay down. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on track.

Originally published at blissquest.net