The hardest part of the workout is getting to the gym

At the beginning of this year, you were probably energized and ready to take on all the projects you’ve been procrastinating on for the past year. A fresh start and a new year are just what you needed, right? Well, now it’s the end of February, and you may have gotten stuck on the hardest part: starting.

I know how you feel. If you’re like me, good health is something I take seriously, and it’s most certainly one of my priorities. I make it a goal to go to the gym on a regular basis, but sometimes, life just gets in the way — and that priority moves to the back burner. On other days, I make it. And, once I’m in the gym, my workouts are successful. I spend my time wisely; I exert the energy needed to maximize my time. I find myself receiving the results I’m looking to achieve. Of course, that’s only when I actually make it to the gym.

Here’s how to get past the hardest part of any goal: the start.

Designate your goal as a top priority for the day.

Before your morning becomes a rush of urgent emails, choose less than three — one is even better — important items to accomplish right as you begin your day. Work on it until it’s done, or else your top priority could quickly become your last priority. In each moment, stay focused on what’s most important.

Make your own calendar invites.

Don’t let your schedule drive you. Drive your own schedule. Block time throughout your day on your calendar, and although it might sound drastic, protect it with your life. Plus, this will keep you accountable to those who view your calendar, especially if your goal is related to your career.

Limit interruptions.

Once you know your top priority and schedule for the morning, turn off your phone, disconnect your email and close your door. Don’t let distractions derail your most important tasks.

Just start.

Goals can be intimidating. It’s easy to think about all the ways that you might not achieve them. Get started. The first step is the hardest to complete. Don’t get discouraged if your goal feels too big. We tend to think that if we get all the small tasks finished first, then we can attack our biggest priority. But, it rarely happens. Start on the big things.

Whether it’s the beginning of the year, the end of the year or just a random month in between, there’s no perfect time to get started achieving your loftiest goals. But with a little preparation, and a solid “start,” you’ll cross those big goals off your list in no time.

This article originally appeared in the Tennessean.