Success in fitness has many factors. Commitment, dedication, whether you're really starting the program for you, or just for that good looking guy or gal at the coffee shop - you know the one you've been making googly eyes at for the past three months but they don't even acknowledge your existence, and you're pretty sure if you were just a bit fitter they'd respond and you'd go off into a lifetime of endless bliss togeth- Sorry, diverged a bit. Anyway, success in fitness depends on a lot of things. One thing that can make or break a fitness program is setting realistic attainable goals. It's a fine line you walk when you start on a fitness plan. Set the goals too easy, and there's no meaning in attaining them. You begin to lose motivation because there's no meaning behind actually attaining a goal. Set them too hard, and you lose motivation because you can't attain the goal in a reasonable amount of time. Most people look at others around them and set goals based on other people. That's where goal setting starts to break down for the fitness newcomer. For example, say a high school student is looking to gain some size. He sees me in the gym, and asks me how long it takes me to bulk, and how much weight I usually put on. My answers to those questions don't apply well to him, though they work well for me. In the offseason, I try to add about 50lbs of mass, hopefully translating into a good amount of lean mass when I diet back down to compete. But, I've also been lifting for 10 years, concentrating completely on bodybuilding the past 2 1/2 years, and my body is conditioned to lose fat when I need it to, and add muscle when I go off season. He's new to the gym, his body isn't conditioned, and he can't expect to see the same results as me in the same time frame. He can, however try to do the best that his body will allow him to do at this point in his fitness life. That's the key right there - setting a goal realistic to your body, your life situation, and your fitness level. If you don't work with a trainer to help define appropriate fitness goals for you, you can still feel out what's appropriate for you. It does require you to be honest with yourself, and it does require a lot of discipline and desiccation. When choosing goals, try to set them just outside of the boundaries that your comfortable with. Push yourself. If you can walk a mile in 20 minutes on the treadmill with just little or no difficulty, try aiming for 1.5 miles in 20 minutes, or try to work up to a mile in 20 minutes on an incline. Be honest with yourself. If you can't do a 20 minute mile, don't base your goals on being able to - it may be better to set that as a goal! When I started bodybuilding, the ultimate goal was to be a pro. But to get there, I had to set intermediate goals. Compete and win locally, work my way up. Before I could even compete, I had to set goals on how to get the "look" and how to train and diet. You can attain anything in your fitness life you want to, you just have to follow the right path by setting goals that apply to you. In the coming year, think about where you want to be physically, and see if your goals match up to where you're going. Lift heavy, and stay hungry! Wayne is a former “IT” guy who decided to take his love for fitness and turn it into a new career. Now a personal trainer by trade, Wayne spends his spare time hitting the weights and learning all he can about bodybuilding and nutrition. He stays true to his IT roots by staying active on Twitter and several online games.