BOSTON - Be realistic.
That's what experts are advising people with New Year's resolutions to get fit and lose weight in 2019.
Committing to change is actually a significant step in the process of making change happen.
"We always see a little influx around this time of year," said Joe Tansey of Best Fitness in Danvers.
He says one key to long-term success is following a workout plan that will yield results.
"Everyone has that motivation at the beginning, but being able to see some of those numbers change and feel some of those changes, that's what's going to help keep people motivated," Tansey said.
Other success tips for gym newbies include establishing a routing and working out the same time every day, and favoring quality workouts over quantity, such as having three good workouts instead of six ones.
Finally, don't be intimidated by the musclemen.
"Those people that are in super great shape, they're worried about themselves," Tansey said.
While exercise is important, it's not the fastest way to shed pounds, said Dr. Fatima Cody-Stanford, an obesity expert at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Still, she's not a big fan of dieting come Jan. 1.
"A diet implies that it's something that's short-term and I believe in things that are sustainable that lead to long-term change," she said.
While long-term change does imply slow, that can be discouraging for dieters. But Cody-Stanford said don't discount other signs showing significant weight loss is happening.
"Maybe they're able to fit on a pair of pants that they weren't able to fit because their waist circumference is smaller and that's a bit more important than just the number on the scale," she said. "Because that weight we carry in our midsection is more likely to cause harm."
One study found about 40 percent of Americans make New Year's resolutions.
The encouraging news is that researchers in Pennsylvania found a better than 40 percent resolution success rate at six months.
One final thing to remember: if you didn't make a New Year's resolution, there's nothing magical about Jan. 1.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.