Another year has gone by and chances are your fitness goals are still lacking. Most people kick off the new year with ambitious goals of weight loss and fitness, only to find themselves in February falling back on bad habits. The idea behind quality weight loss isn’t an overnight process, and can’t be found in trending diets, pills, and other supplements. True weight loss that sticks comes from dedication, diet, and consistent exercise. This doesn’t mean a total lifestyle change; this could be something that you work your way into and start a few days a week. However, you decide to dive into this, here are 5 ways you can make it a successful run at weight loss.

Drink Lots of Water

Drinking sodas and other sugary beverages are terrible for your body and it can be a difficult habit to kick if you are a soda drinker. Sugar-packed drinks are no good for the waste line and cutting them out and replacing them with water is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you are not a big fan of water, you can simply add a wedge of lemon, or cucumber to your water bottle for added flavor. Water flushes your system, detoxes your organs, and keeps you hydrated for your workouts.

Ditch the Fast Food

There is a reason why they call it diet and exercise, they go hand in hand. No reason to work your butt off in the gym, only to turn around and eat a Big Mac and fries for lunch! Eating healthy will not only help those numbers on the scale drop, but it will improve your internal body function, overall mood, and attitude. A quality diet has also been known to help with depression. Keeping your body fueled as you try to lose weight is an important factor for finding success. Fast food is convenient, we get it, but it is poison for your body. Try getting into a routine eating Whole Foods. Pre-make your lunch for the week, freeze foods in advance, and portion your items.

Find a Recreational Sport

There are plenty of activities in your local communities that you can join. Golf, tennis, basketball, and martial arts are all great examples of sports that can be played after work and on the weekends. If you are not big into sports, try something that requires less athleticism like frisbee golf or bowling. You will still be getting some exercise, but the physical requirements won’t be as high as some of the other sports listed. If you really want to push yourself, try Brazilian jiu-jitsu for a few months, you will drop weight and learn great self-defense techniques.

Join a Gym

Getting healthy may require the support of the people around you.  Going home to a family that supports your diet plan makes staying away from junk food much easier. The same goes for your workout routine. Having a group of people to work out with makes the experience much more enjoyable. Another benefit of a workout partner is the motivation and support you receive from them. Having someone push you in the gym to get that last rep up, to add more weight to your reps, and to follow through with your workout routine daily is very valuable to the success of your efforts.  Join a gym to gain all the benefits that come from working out in a dedicated facility with all the weights and amenities you need to commit to a workout program.

Make Lifestyle Adjustments

This can be a very simple adjustment that can provide value over time. Walking more, this is obvious, but many people don’t think about all the different ways they could be spending more time on their feet and less time on their seat. If you stop by the mailbox on the way home, think about going home first, parking the car, and walking to get the mail. If you work behind a computer like many people do, set a reminder to stand and walk every hour. When you are driving and you are stopped at a light, try squeezing your butt for a firmer buttock. The same can be done with stomach muscles, flexing your abs at every stoplight can tighten up your midsection rather quickly.

Little adjustments like these can be added to your daily routine and make a difference over the course of a few months. If you don’t have time to hit the gym every day, set aside time a few days a week and get in there without making excuses. Life is short and it’s getting easier than ever to get fat and unhealthy. Break the trend, eat healthier, join a gym, exercise more, and enjoy a longer healthier life.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.