The weather is finally getting warmer, and I’m so excited I could almost die. Almost. My dry-weather running shoes have been sitting, crying in the closet without me to pound the pavement with them. It’s time to get them back out. After I’ve been cooped up mostly inside for the end of fall and all winter, I tend to go a little crazy once spring arrives. But to get myself going and not burn out too quickly, I am going to set reasonable goals and enjoy the results.

Setting Goals. I think it’s important to set a wide variety of goals that are not just related to weight loss. After all, there will be weeks when the scale does not budge an inch. I generally prefer to set my goals related to improving speed, distance, endurance or increases in weight. With those goals, the weight loss usually comes along. I break the goals into pieces to make them easier to achieve. For example, if I want to double the amount of weight I’m lifting, I will go slowly. It would be dangerous to jump right from 50 to 100 lbs. So I’ll do 50 lbs four or five times, then try 55 or 60 lbs. And before I know it, I’ll have made my long-term goal.

Keeping Motivated. It’s pretty easy to stay motivated in the first week or two of a new workout regimen. Sometimes I can barely move the next day, but I feel sassy and strong. I’m breaking out of my routine and feel like an exercise goddess. Then I get complacent, or worse, disappointed that I’m not seeing immediate progress in my strength or endurance, like I did at the beginning. I recently started using the Nike Fuel Band to keep track of my activity. I’m still figuring out how it works (syncing it to my phone, etc.), but so far I love it and it helps give me that extra push on days when I need it.

Helpful Tools. If I had to choose one thing for my workouts that I really could not live without, it is my smartphone. OMG, it has everything. It cannot lift weights for me, of course. But I can use any one of hundreds of apps to find workouts that are perfect for my goals. I can track my progress and even interact with others who are looking to achieve the same ends. Besides the phone, I love portable fitness equipment. My newest purchase was a set of pull up assist bands. I got them from after reading all the good reviews. They can be used just about anywhere, and are not only for pull-ups. I can stuff them in my pocket, run a mile or three, then do some resistance training and run home. They are especially useful when traveling since they can fit just about anywhere.

Reasonable Rewards. There are points when achieving goals just isn’t enough for me. That’s when I bring out the big guns. I pick a prize that I am dying for that will motivate me to do even more. I currently have my eyes on these. The hard part will be deciding which color combo I want!

This winter has beaten me down a little, and I am so ready to spend a lot more time outside. But I’m not going to let my excitement run completely out of control. I will create attainable goals that will allow me to keep my motivation, use the tools available to me and find some rewards that will keep me going.