Have you ever committed yourself to a workout routine only to totally drop off the wagon a few weeks (or days) into it? You aren’t alone. It’s quite common to find your idealized plans don’t always align with the reality of your life. But, this can also be a vicious cycle that leaves you beating yourself up over not sticking with your plans or ultimately reaching your goals.

As with anything else, the key to success is having a solid plan and ensuring that you execute on it. A few things that may help:

1. Write it down – create a mission statement clearly outlining what it is you want to achieve and when. Add action steps. You’ve seriously got to treat this like any other goal you’d set for yourself. Side note: it’s crucially important to be realistic here with what you can achieve in a pre-determined amount of time. There’s nothing that tanks success, like unrealistic expectations.

2. Create a support system – yup, there are going to be days when you don’t feel like or days when you feel less than good about your progress. There’s nothing like having someone to reach out to who will help you snap out of it and get back to it. This is even better if it’s a mutual support system—you’ve got their back when they’re down and they’ve got yours (unless you’re paying someone, of course).

3. Reward yourself – take on the mentality that hard work pays off! Rewards usually work best if they’re short-term so try to reward yourself in increments—i.e. worked out consistently for 6 weeks? Reward. Is there something that you really want, but hesitate to buy for yourself? Put that on the line.

4. Make a schedule – you wouldn’t miss a dentist appointment because you just didn’t feel like going anymore, would you? Treat your workouts the same way. Plan ahead to stay accountable to yourself just like you would anyone else.

5. Be honest – Is the mission you created right for you? Do you like the schedule you made? Are the workouts helping you reach your goal? One of the most important things you can do is check-in with yourself. Consistently reevaluate and make changes. This is your life—if something doesn’t make you feel amazing, it’s time to think about how you can change it so it does.

Each of these things will help but, let’s be honest, there will always be days that you don’t feel like moving. Something will happen, you might miss a workout. Above all else—be kind to yourself. And, if you haven’t heard by now…change is hard. Sometimes the best thing to do is take a deep breath and realign your goals.