Avoid these pitfalls and meet your fitness goals

The No. 1 reason people routinely fail to keep their resolution to improve their health is that they set unrealistic expectations. Oftentimes, you expect immediate results, but each person is different. Be consistent, remain diligent and change will come.

Make it convenient — and fun: Find a gym close to home or work and fit your workouts into a schedule that makes the most sense for you. Also, make sure your workouts are fun. Find several activities you like to do (for example, Pilates, kickboxing or swimming) and intersperse those with your regular workouts. Find an exercise buddy who will help keep you accountable (and vice-versa).

Avoid doing too much, too fast: It’s easy to be gung-ho in the early going, only to overdo your workouts and become fatigued or sore. Listen to your body, start slowly and increase your commitment as you make progress.

Stay away from the bad stuff: Cut back on sodas, coffee and other beverages that lack any apparent nutritional value. Again, don’t move too fast. You’ve likely been at the mercy of these caffeinated, sugary monsters for a long while and they tend to get back at you in the form of headaches. Eliminate them by reducing your intake each week.

Kick the tobacco habit: If you smoke or use tobacco products, talk to your doctor about the variety of treatment options available to help you quit. Pharmaceutical treatments might be one option, but addiction counseling, hypnosis, acupuncture and other alternative approaches could offer solutions.

Plan your meals: If you need to adjust your diet, hire a reputable personal chef to prepare your meals. Many chefs prepare two weeks’ worth of healthy meals and freeze them. They will also instruct you on foods to avoid. A poor diet will lead to poor results.

Of course, before beginning any workout program, talk to your physician and develop a plan that works best for you. Joint and bone problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease all could lead to more problems if not managed properly.