Follow these goal-setting steps and get in the best shape of your life.

1. WHAT is your goal?  Try picturing it in your mind. Is it losing weight, feeling better about yourself, lowering cholesterol levels?

2. WHY do you want to achieve this goal? Are you more confident?  Imagine what it feels like. This is what’s going to motivate you every day.

3. WHEN is your goal going to be realized? This spring? A year from now?  Give yourself a date and you have something to aim for.

4. WHAT do you bring to the table? Take a personal inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Under strengths, maybe you can include “a willingness to learn”. Under weaknesses, maybe it’s a “fear of the unknown”.

5. HOW much are you willing to invest?  This has to do with time, money, knowledge.  It takes time to read a book on nutrition and to exercise.  It takes money to buy new athletic shoes or hire a personal trainer.  But in my opinion, the most important investment is knowledge. Take the time to learn about yourself.

6. WHO can help you? Find resources (people, books, or even websites) to help you succeed.

7. Anticipate SETBACKS. Realize that things don’t always go as planned. What’s the solution? Be flexible and understand that you will need to overcome obstacles in order to achieve your goal.

8. Take LITTLE STEPS. Let’s say your goal is to complete a 5k walk/run in mid-April. What you are doing right now to move you towards your goal? Look at your calendar and see how many weeks until your walk/run. In this example, about thirteen weeks. Next create a plan of action for every week, progressively increasing the distance and/or shortening the time. In week 1, maybe you’re walking 1/3 mile. In week 2, you walk 1/2 a mile. And so on. By the time you are at thirteen weeks you’ve done it!

9. DECIDE to do #8. This is about making daily decisions. Everyday decide that you can achieve your goals and that you deserve it.

10. HAVE FUN! Getting in shape doesn’t need to be a big production.  Enjoy the journey!