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7. Show the clock who’s boss. Health experts say you should aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week (30 minutes a day, five times a week, for example), plus weight training at least twice a week. Can’t find room in your crazy schedule? Take a closer look. If you work too late to get to a gym, keep a set of weights at home. If you can't do 30 minutes at once, break exercise sessions up into 10- or 15-minute bursts.

8. Get used to it. Your workout should be just as much a habit as brushing your teeth or eating breakfast. When it’s part of your routine, you won't even have to think about it. In a few months, fitness can be a regular feature in your day.

9. Live in the present. So what if you missed a week at the gym and polished off a pint of ice cream over the weekend? Leave the guilt in the past. You have a chance to get back into your routine today.

10. Keep it real. You're not going to skim off 30 pounds in a week. Aim for something that’s realistic as a first step. For instance, increase your workout schedule from 2 to 3 days a week, or exercise for 15 more minutes each time.

11. Track it. Keep a fitness journal or use an app to record your progress -- for example, how much you run, walk, or lift and the calories you burn.

12. Celebrate! It takes weeks to see real changes. Even a pound of weight loss or a pound of muscle gain is reason to reward yourself. Go out with friends, or spring for a new pair of jeans.