As the clock strikes midnight on January 1, 2018, a list of New Year’s resolutions seems to suddenly appear. Every year, it is the same resolutions—people want to be more positive, use their time better, eat healthier, and most importantly get fit.

Based on a survey done by Statista, “33 per cent of surveyed Canadians [said] their top resolution for 2017 was to improve personal fitness and nutrition.” That means diets are being started, the gym is becoming crowded, and less donuts are being purchased.

Within the first couple of weeks into the New Year, it is obvious to regular gym users that there are plenty of new faces. Sudden lineups to use the treadmills or weight racks may appear but, according to U.S. News, approximately 80 per cent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. So those lineups will not last for too long. Most of the resolutions that people make are unrealistic in comparison to their previous lifestyle. Setting high expectations will increase the probability of a goal not being reached.

To avoid a quick failure of this year’s resolutions, start small. We tend to get really motivated and tell ourselves that we will start going to the gym every single day, or even every other day. Instead, maybe start with two to three days a week. Develop a regular routine and set reminders to ensure following through with it.

If you are not a big gym user, try something different. Physical activity can be experienced in a variety of ways. Go to a drop-in Zumba class, take a couple of friends swimming, or just take a long walk around campus. “Getting fit” does not have to be an overnight change in lifestyle. Attempting to jump right into it is what causes people to burn out quickly. Find out what pace works for you, and work on maintaining it.

It is important to set realistic goals, and work consistently on achieving them. According to Alive.com, “Healthy practices such as getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity a day, cannot only improve our overall physical health, but also our cognitive performance.” As a result, exercising can lead to doing better in school. Having a balance between studies, socializing, and physical activity is ideal for taking care of personal mental health.

One thing to remember for New Year’s resolutions is that they do not have to be done alone. Naturally, many of us have similar lifestyle goals. It is easier to continue working towards these goals when we support each other. Talk to friends and family about what your objectives are, remind yourself consistently of the benefits of the end goal, and allow yourself small rewards for each step of the way.

At UTM Athletics, there is a new women’s only pilot program, Eagles Workout Buddies, launching this month that is “designed for UTM students to easily find like-minded peers to help achieve their fitness goals.” Sign up using the online form, found on utmeagles.ca and the UTM website.

Start fresh this year. Reaching fitness and health goals requires commitment, and the change is not going to happen overnight. Take it slow and steady, and most importantly, don’t give up.