If you’re ready to make 2019 the year you become fitter, you can’t simply wake up on January 1st without a plan. The best way to actually become more fit this year is to make a plan now that lays out the steps that will help your commitment to fitness last long after the excitement of New Year’s resolution-making wears off.

There’s no magic formula as to what it takes to be fitter in the New Year. But there are some things you need to do. You have to be motivated and have a reason for wanting to be fitter. You should have a plan of what it will take to achieve your goals.

These 5 tips can also help:

Take It Step By Step

As with anything in life, you can’t go from zero to full throttle unless you’re a sports car. So if you want to get fitter this year, start from where you are and increase your fitness level one step at a time. This is true no matter where in the fitness spectrum you currently lie. If you try to do too much too quickly, you risk burnout or injury.

Do Something You Enjoy

Some people love working out and some people don’t. But if you’re in the latter category, maybe you just haven’t been doing the right activity. Exercising is not supposed to be a chore. Doing something fun and rewarding will make it more likely you’ll stick with it. So if you hate the gym but love to dance, take a dance class. Don’t like running but think you’ll enjoy boxing? Sign up for a trial and give it a go.

Find A Workout Partner

Unless you really love solo workouts, there’s a good chance if you find someone who shares your desire to become fitter and your fitness interests, you’ll both be more likely to achieve your goals. Having a workout buddy is motivating and makes you more accountable. It allows you to challenge each other, recognize each other’s achievements and even gives you someone to vent to when your results aren’t quite what you hoped for.

Make Fitness A Priority

If you’re like many people, there are numerous things vying for your time and attention each day. Work, school, kids, social commitments and volunteer activities are just some of them. But if you don’t want to be a victim of “I wanted to work out but I just couldn’t find the time,” make your workout a priority. Schedule it on your calendar just as you would do any other appointment or commitment.

Set SMART Goals

The best way to set a goal you can achieve is to make it SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. Rather than beginning the year with a vague commitment to become fitter, decide exactly what you want to achieve and what the steps are that will help you get there. Set small goals you can measure and track. Then as you achieve each one, celebrate your achievement before moving on to your next goal.

Before you know it, you’ll be fitter and healthier than when you started your fitness journey at the beginning of the year.