People claim that it’s difficult to make the first move, switch to a healthy lifestyle by starting a fitness routine and depriving your menu of unhealthy bites, but a lack of dedication is the reason behind most failed resolutions.

If only it were enough to visit the weight room once a month to reap the rewards of strength training, and only if a single healthy salad could neutralize weeks of binging on sweets. But a brilliant workout program is only as effective as the number of completed training sessions – and long-term results truly are built one baby-step at a time.

Plan Down To Every Detail

Although scheduling doesn’t sound all that sexy and exciting, staying true to your plan (backups included) will depend heavily on how thorough you become with your schedule. Dig out a nice notebook, or work some Excel magic to deliver a masterpiece of a schedule that will help you build consistency.

Mark down every workout day, list the meals you need to eat, and you can even make a failsafe plan in case something goes awry with your initial schedule. Yes, flexibility can be planned for, and it never hurts to expect the unexpected. Craft a “workout quickie” for days when you end up at the office too long, and always have a protein-packed snack in your bag in case you’re late for your homemade lunch. It’s always better to have an alternative than skip out on your plan completely.

A Support System To Match Your Goals

Even the effects of the best of workouts will fade into oblivion unless you have created an entire lifestyle that centers around your wellbeing. Think of all the healthy meals that are needed to fuel your training sessions, all the protective gear to make your workouts safe, proper hydration and many hours of shuteye to safeguard your body and your mind from over-training, injury and illness.

Zero energy to make a delicious post-workout meal? You can always resort to powerful protein supplements for an added boost to your menu that will help you stay on the right nutrition track. Make a habit of always carrying a bottle of water with you, and don’t slack off with your warm up and cool down just because they’re not as fun as that Zumba class!

Setting Realistic Targets

While most people shoot too high to begin with, they also tend to start shooting too low as soon as they hit the first obstacle in the road. To avoid those slumps of motivation and feelings of self-doubt, make sure that you’ve set attainable goals to help you reshape your life. Ask for professional guidance, nutritionists and coaches are there for a reason – to help you build and stick to your healthy habits.

Not everyone can go cold turkey when it comes to depriving themselves of chocolate cookies and sugary pastry. If you know that you’ll just find yourself on another binge a week from the day you cut out all unhealthy treats, why not take a milder approach that is more realistic for your personality and the stage of your life? As you progress, you can always set your goals higher one step at a time, and thus slowly instill healthy behavior patterns in your mind.

Celebrate The Little Victories

Since no training is a cookie-cutter solution that fits us all, and no exercise routine should serve as a “quick fix” for a confidence boost only to be abandoned a month into the program, always do your best to maintain a learning mindset. Strive to learn more about healthy meals, interesting exercises to add to your routine once it starts feeling stale, and always reward your own success.

Every milestone you reach on your weekly progress scale deserves a high-five, an inner pat on the back, and sometimes an indulgence such as a proper massage, a new pair of jeans to show off your figure or even an occasional chocolate soufflé – preferably with extra protein! You can be your own drill sergeant or your inner guru with a well of positive thoughts, whatever makes you tick.

It all comes down to discovering which actions deliver the results you desire, and building your daily choices around those actions. Once you make the first step, do your best to ensure the right circumstances for all the future steps to occur as well, because no matter how difficult that one may have been, the rest will only be possible if you build them on a foundation of consistency!