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Tips for successful New Year's fitness resolutions

Tuesday - 12/31/2013, 7:53am  ET

WTOP TALKBACK: It's New Year's Eve, and many of us will be making resolutions. Tell us your new year's resolution, or tell us what resolutions others, such as the Redskins or Congress, should make.

Call us on the WTOP Talkback line at 1-877-222-1035, join the conversation on our Facebook page or tweet your thoughts using #WTOP.

Josef Brandenburg, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Most people who are unsuccessful with their New Year's resolutions look at those who do succeed as lucky. However, similar to consistent, long-term success in most everything, luck has nothing to do with it.

You can think of successful New Year's resolutions like an airplane -- to be confident you'll arrive at your destination, there's some prep work to do. Let's get ready:

Get SMART

Reflect on what kind of commitment you can actually make. You're searching for something that's not too easy, but not so hard it's completely unattainable. Meaningful, successful goals take time to achieve.

Make sure your resolutions are SMART: specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

Check the weather

Just like a pilot looks at the weather to chart his or her course, you need to look at the week, months or year to come.

You want a plan that includes strategies for your biggest obstacles. An example here would be child care. My wife has decided to be the primary care-giver for our baby, which is a beautiful thing. However, it makes having alone time to work out hard to come by. This is an obstacle, and she's navigated it by getting my parents and me to help watch our daughter so she can focus on her workouts.

Get a crew

Tell someone exactly what you're going to do. For example, if you've resolved to work out four days per week, tell someone who supports you. It helps knowing that they will help you and hold you accountable - especially on those days when you just don't feel like going to the gym.

Land safely

The prep is done, but remember your original plan. How many destinations you can fly to at once? Just one. You can always fly somewhere else next, but stay focused on your first destination until you arrive, otherwise you'll never make it.

Resist your desire to change everything at once and remember this: Regular exercise is a "keystone habit." That means disciplining yourself to work out regularly spills over positively to the other areas of your life.

Researchers have found that people who start to work out - and continue to work out - regularly also end up managing their finances better and eating better, even when they're not focused on those things.

Editor's Note: Josef Brandenburg is a D.C.-area fitness expert with 14 years of experience and co-author of the international best-selling book "Results Fitness." In 2004, he started The Body You Want personal training program, which specializes in helping you get the body you want in the available time you have. You can also check out his blog, follow him on Twitter, or check out his fitness videos on YouTube.

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