It’s 2018! The new year is upon us, and getting more exercise is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, many people hang up their sneakers by the second week of January. The problem lies in “resolutions,” which mean “a firm decision to do (or not do) something.” Resolutions come with an “all or nothing” mentality that can make you want to quit after one missed workout. So, ditch the resolutions in favor of realistic goals and the development of healthy habits. Here are four steps to help you create healthy exercise habits in 2018.

Set a SMART Goal

Now that you’ve ditched resolutions, it’s time to set a SMART goal – a goal that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. For example, a goal to “exercise more in 2018” is unlikely to get you off the couch, but a goal to “walk 20 minutes per day, 3 times per week for 3 months” is a realistic and detailed goal to work towards.

If you’re new to exercise and not sure where to begin, 15-20 minutes of exercise, 3-4 times per week is a great place to start. Within 6 months, work your way up 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days per week. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Still not sure where to start? Try one of our virtual fitness classes! You can find a workout routine that’s right for you.

Schedule Your Time

Have you ever heard the expression, “you make time for the things you value most”? That’s why it’s important to schedule your workouts and make them a priority. Pick days/times that work best for you. Some people like to exercise in the morning, while others thrive on evening workouts. Whichever days/times you choose, schedule your workouts and plan for success. Write your workouts on the calendar, coordinate workout times with your spouse or schedule a babysitter, and lay out your workout clothes in advance.

Identify Barriers to Success

It’s important to consider your past attempts to become more active and which factors interfered with your success. Once you’ve identified these factors, consider ways to eliminate them. For example, if needing to drive to the gym caused you to skip workouts, you could eliminate this factor by investing in home exercise equipment and working out with VHP’s live fitness classes.

Be Patient

It takes time to develop new habits, so be patient with yourself. You’ll likely miss a few workouts, but don’t let that stop you! A healthy 2018 is not about perfection, but creating better habits, one day at a time.