We all make resolutions about getting fit and staying healthy in the new year, but most of us forget about our promises during the first month of the challenge. By the time Valentine's Day rolls around and delicious chocolates are everywhere, our weight loss goals have been long forgotten.

Well, not this year. This time, things are going to be different, and you can use some of these tips to make sure you stay on track with your goals in 2016:

  • Re-imagine exercise. For a lot of people, the word “exercise” brings up images of cold gym machines, muscle men pumped up with steroids, and dreaded middle school PE classes. This year, don't worry about getting exercise in traditional ways if they don't appeal to you – instead, focus only on increasing physical activity, in whatever way you prefer. That may mean classes at the gym, but it could also mean walk in a local park or doing push ups during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV shows.
  • Make smart food choices. Long term health and lasting weight loss are based on one word: sustainability. Most diet plans are quick fixes that don't teach you how to make the smart choices that make health a lifestyle, rather than a short-term goal. Eat foods that are rich in fiber and protein, not fat and carbs – your body works harder to process them, and they help you to feel fuller and more satisfied.
  • Order an appetizer. Whether you're at home or at a restaurant, an appetizer is a great way to stick to your weight loss goals for the new year. Start your meals with a salad (with low-fat dressing, or no dressing at all) or a broth-based soup that will add volume to your meal and fill you up so that you make wiser choices during the rest of your meal.
  • Don't give up everything you love in the name of being healthy. Indulge every once in a while! Deprivation can actually be detrimental to weight loss, as it makes you more likely to binge on bad foods when the cravings kick in. Treat yourself to one Reese's Peanut Butter Cup instead of the whole package, or have a cheat day on the weekend in which you can eat whatever you want.

You don't need to sign up for a pricey diet program to reach your weight loss goals in 2012. All you need is education, a lifestyle makeover, and a commitment to living the life you want.

If you are looking for information on diet programs you can check out our Weight & Diet category which gives you the complete list of reviews. For the most popular program you can take a look at our Weight Watchers review.