At the beginning of every season I think it’s my favorite one. I am loving these warmer, longer, lighter days, aren’t you? Don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m starting to believe that spring is actually here to stay. Which means summer is just around the bend! Which means those excuses you’ve been mumbling about it being too cold and dark to get outside and exercise are getting stale. Need some help kickstarting your springtime fitness plan? Let’s do it!

SET A GOAL

Setting a specific goal is a great place to start. Goals are nice, concrete things to aim for and setting one is a proven way to boost your motivation. That being said, don’t make it about weight loss. Instead, set a behavior goal—like how many times a week you’ll go to the gym or sticking to a plan that will get you in shape for a fun run. Setting goals based on action are better because they are goals you have control over. A goal like weight loss might seem like a great goal to have, but weight loss can be affected by things out of your control—like stress and hormones. Focusing on healthy behavior instead of a number on the scale will help you be more successful in creating healthy habits in the long term, which, more than likely, will result in that weight loss anyway!

EASE IN

I know, I know; the warmth and sun and beautiful weather make charging back into your full fitness schedule tempting, but if you’ve been sitting it out a lot of this winter, your body might not be quite as ready as you are to hit the ground running. Enthusiasm is important, but easing your body back into your fitness routine will boost your morale and help you avoid unwanted injury. Work hard, but listen to your body, and don’t forget to add in some resistance training! Not only does it thicken your tendons and ligaments to protect your joints, it also increases your bone density and improves your lean muscle mass.

TREAT YOURSELF

Sometimes it’s nice to have something new to start. Maybe it’s time to retire those old sneakers. Invest in a new sports bra, yoga mat or foam roller (you know you want one)—something you’ll want to wear or use as you rev up your spring fitness routine. Buying something to get you started is mentally motivating and, when you invest financially in something there’s the added incentive to make sure that investment doesn’t to go waste.

MAKE FITNESS FRIENDS

Joining a gym or signing up for boot camp classes definitely makes working out more fun. There’s something really motivating and rewarding about pursuing fitness goals with people who share your passion for a healthy lifestyle. Being invested in a class also has the added benefit of providing built-in accountability. It’s harder to bail on a workout if you know your trainer and the people you work out with personally. You’re all there to help each other stay on track and reach your goals!