Too many people let fitness drop out of their lives over and over again. It’s nearly January, so gyms will be full of eager beavers trying to work off those Christmas pounds. I’d be the last person to criticise their efforts, but unfortunately this burst of enthusiasm rarely lasts longer than a few weeks.

Gym-goers always give up for the same reasons and it’s time to break the cycle. Make 2018 different. These tips will ensure you never quit fitness again:

1. Set goals that you actually care about.

To succeed in a mission, you’ve got to know exactly where you’re going. And you’ve got to care about getting there. Without passion, your journey will become a struggle and you will give up at the first hurdle. That’s when the excuses start: ‘it’s raining,’ ‘I’m tired,’ I’ve got to be up early tomorrow.’

It’s easy to find reasons why you can’t exercise, so instead list reasons why you want to. Set specific and timely goals and say why they are important.

‘I want to run 5 kilometres within 30 minutes by April. This will mean I can run around with my two children when we go to the park.’

‘I want to lose three stone to get my BMI within a healthy range. This will give me more energy, make me less prone to illness and give me a sense of pride when I look in the mirror.’

Refer to this list when you feel your motivation flagging. Visualise yourself achieving these goals and how they will make you feel. Believe that you can attain them.

2. Be realistic.

Many people bail from fitness because they’ve set the bar too high. Their goals are too numerous, too ambitious, too time limited.

Pick one or two important goals and give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve them. Use past experiences to help you set these goals. Consider why you quit fitness in the past.

If it was a perceived lack of time, think about your schedule. What other activities could you realistically drop in order to get time for exercise three times a week? Recognise that if your time is limited, it may take longer to achieve your goals or that results may be less dramatic.

3. Map a path to success.

There’s no point having a destination if you are unsure how you’re going to get there. This means setting a few manageable daily and weekly targets, so you can track progress. If your goal is to lose a stone by May, say you will lose 1 to 2 lbs per week by sticking to your daily calorie limit (an app such as MyFitnessPal can help you work this out), going to the gym three times a week and walking at least 6,000 steps per day.

4. Accept that success will require hard work.

To succeed in anything in life, hard work is the key ingredient. Too many people believe they can buy their way to a great body through expensive gym memberships, superfoods or beauty treatments. These luxuries are pointless, unless you are prepared to sweat.

The pursuit of your dream body will require dedication, energy and sacrifice. Fitness needn’t take over your life, but you will need to make a concerted and consistent effort to see results.

5. Get support.

You’re more likely to achieve your goals if you rally the support of those around you. Friends and family should want to help but, if they try to tempt you off the straight and narrow, it’s only because you’re making them feel guilty. Ask at your gym for advice about attaining your fitness goals or try a few sessions with a personal trainer.